Washington – Business Roundtable today announced the launch of its “Apprenticeship Accelerator” initiative. The Accelerator will help companies develop or scale their registered apprenticeship programs to expand opportunities to workers without a four-year college degree and to support apprentices’ development and advancement.
The Apprenticeship Accelerator launched with an initial group of Business Roundtable members, including United and JPMorgan Chase, and will build off of the work of Roundtable members Accenture and Aon in creating apprenticeship networks in Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston and Detroit. Business Roundtable member companies will partner with local community colleges to create or enhance apprenticeship programs focused on inclusive hiring models and skills development.
Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Chair Scott Kirby, CEO of United, discussed scaling apprenticeship programs earlier this week during a Business Roundtable Education and Workforce event at Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL:
“Probably the most important thing for making these programs meaningful is: How do we scale them?” said Kirby. “…Companies individually can do a lot, but it's hard to go out and market that because you're too narrow. This is where the policy support becomes so critical. We need the policy foundation; it’s what will allow us to scale across industries and across functions… The biggest thing is making national policy that has the right foundation, the kind of things that are in the Business Roundtable policy report.”
Kirby continued: “Instead of trying to build everything from scratch, we've got to make this scalable like we do in so many other things in business. We have to make this scalable. We have to have the policy support to make that work.”
On the opportunity to scale even further, Greg Case, CEO of Aon, said:
“We started this program in Chicago back in 2017 with a handful of companies. Today, we have over 70 companies in Chicago alone—as an example—and are 1,500 apprentices strong and getting stronger. We have scaled this to several cities in the U.S. already and know—having spoken with Scott [Kirby] and the Business Roundtable about this—that we can scale even further.”
To watch the full conversation from the Education and Workforce event, click here.
According to recent estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor, job openings are currently at an all-time high—11 million—with only 5.5 million available workers as of May 2022. The “Great Resignation” continues with over 4 million workers quitting their jobs. For employers, the challenge is connecting future workers to career opportunities and closing the “training gap” between the skills being taught and those needed by employers.
The expansion of registered apprenticeships can open the doors to individuals who are eager to enter the workforce and provide a way to tap into underutilized human capital. These programs can also bridge the gap between entry level positions that require aptitude, ambition, on-the-job training and a talented workforce who can also earn as they learn. Registered apprenticeships also have the potential to create greater diversity among a company’s workforce and the ability to put workers who have been displaced by changes in the economy at greater job security and increased career opportunities.
RELATED: On Wednesday, Business Roundtable released a suite of federal policy recommendations to modernize the workforce development system to ensure a stronger return on investment and tackle the critical challenges facing workers and employers.
The Apprenticeship Accelerator is one way Business Roundtable companies are investing in workforce development, along with collective efforts such as the Business Roundtable Multiple Pathways Initiative, the Workforce Partnership Initiative and the Second Chance Business Coalition. For more information, visit businessroundtable.org.