Apprenticeship Roundtable Demystifies Opportunities

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Main News Photo

On Friday, December 7, more than 60 leaders in business, education, and government gathered at the Northwest Career and Technical Center in Mount Vernon for an Apprenticeship Roundtable convened by the Career Connect NW team, which includes the Northwest Workforce Council, Skagit STEM Network, and EDASC, along with others.  Keynote speakers Suzi LeVine, Commissioner of the Washington State Employment Security Department, and her husband, entrepreneur Eric LeVine, set the stage by reviewing their experience with the Swiss apprenticeship system while Suzi served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland.  This experience led to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s recent mission to Switzerland to study their system and explore its application here in Washington.  Craig Nolte, Regional Manager for Community Development of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, opened the program by presenting the Bank’s research on investments and outcomes from workforce development in the United States.  Nolte, who is based in Seattle, illustrated how supporting Career Connect, training in soft skills as well as in technical areas, and workshops for employers can bring positive returns.

Kevin Corrigan, Director of Human Resources for Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, spoke on that company’s extensive experience implementing apprenticeship programs, focusing on the “whys” and hows.”  Corrigan offered to share Nichols Brothers’ experience, research, and methods with other companies, a generous offer that could potentially save them significant amounts.  After Bri Durham, Director of Youth Apprenticeship for the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC), described the organization’s youth apprenticeship models, EDASC CEO John Sternlicht moderated a panel of manufacturers of different products and sizes to discuss their efforts in this area.  Leslie Smith of EDCO, Inc., Kristina Hayek of Hexcel, and Art Baily of Nichols Brothers discussed their experiences, obstacles overcome, and methods for success.  They also emphasized the importance of the push for training coming from the top of the company, and the value of the investment in workers.  The famous quote from the day was the response to the question: “What if we train our employees and they leave?” (so the employer does not realize the return on its investment).  The proper response is: “What if we don’t train them … and they stay?”  For many participants, this comment summarized the need and benefits of training at all levels.

EDASC was pleased to help create this program and expresses kudos and thanks to the principal organizers from Career Connect NW, Alex Kosmides of the Northwest Workforce Council, and Michelle Judson of the Skagit STEM Network, as well as to all the speakers and participants.

Read more about the Apprenticeship Workshop on the Skagit STEM Network Website

Category: Capacity Building, Workforce Training, Education