ICYMI: United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby Urges Congress to Expand Apprenticeship Programs

November 27, 2023

Earlier this month, in recognition of National Apprenticeship Week, United Airlines CEO and Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee Chair Scott Kirby penned an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times highlighting the benefits of apprenticeships to America’s workforce and employers. Kirby also outlined actions Congress should take to expand apprenticeship programs and the private sector’s role.

Congress Can Get the Job Done To Boost Apprenticeships, Work Training Programs

By: Scott Kirby

Read the full op-ed online HERE.


“High-quality apprenticeships allow workers to train alongside experts to develop the skills and pursue the credentials they need to succeed, all while earning a wage. In turn, they allow employers to create a talent pipeline that is tailored to their specific needs. Through structured training and mentorship, apprentices become well-prepared employees who can hit the ground running.
“At United, we recently launched the Calibrate Apprenticeship, a full-time, paid apprenticeship program where participants learn the skills and earn the credentials necessary to be successful aviation technicians. They work with state-of-the-art aircraft, ground service equipment or facilities equipment. ...
“United isn’t alone. I chair the Education and Workforce Committee at Business Roundtable, an organization whose members comprise more than 200 CEOs of large, U.S.-based companies. Business Roundtable members are committed to expanding career pathways for more Americans, including through high-quality apprenticeships.
“Along with employers, policymakers also have a key role in incentivizing effective apprenticeship programs. First, Congress should come together to modernize the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the cornerstone of the public workforce development system that is too inefficient and bureaucratic to deliver the workforce training and skills-building that we need to maintain America’s economic competitiveness. ...
“Policymakers also must work to make the Registered Apprenticeship system more accessible for employers. For example, Congress could grant employers and other apprenticeship sponsors greater flexibility to administer multi-state apprenticeship programs governed by common standards and reform the current unwieldy system where requirements vary state by state. ...
“Apprenticeships are a win-win for individuals, businesses and society. Together, we can build a more skilled and prosperous future for all Americans.”