Trident Technical College President Mary Thornley participated in a White House event in Washington, D.C., Sept. 1 to help launch a new national Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative. U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and First Lady Jill Biden hosted the event for leaders of the initiative. Thornley represented the nation’s community colleges during a panel discussion on expanding apprenticeship opportunities.
The Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative is a national network of employers and industry organizations, labor organizations, educators, workforce intermediaries and community-based organizations who are committed to strengthening and diversifying Registered Apprenticeship. Registered Apprenticeship is a high-quality, debt-free, equitable “earn and learn” model with a nationally recognized credential system that helps employers hire a more demographically diverse workforce and provides workers with on-the-job learning experience with a mentor, job-related instruction and a clear pathway to a good-paying job. Trident Technical College is one of more than 200 organizations selected to serve in the first cohort of Apprenticeship Ambassadors. The Apprenticeship Ambassadors have existing Registered Apprenticeship programs in over 40 in-demand industries and have committed to expand and diversify these programs over the next year by collectively: developing 460 new Registered Apprenticeship programs across their 40 industries, hiring over 10,000 new apprentices, and holding 5,000 outreach, promotional and training events to help other business, labor and education leaders launch similar programs. Ambassadors will also use their expertise to scale innovative practices and increase access to Registered Apprenticeship for underserved populations, including women, youth, people of color, rural communities, people with arrest or conviction records, and people with disabilities.
“Registered Apprenticeship programs have power – the power to change lives in remarkable ways and the power to accelerate our economy and build strong communities,” said Thornley. “Trident Technical College and our partners in the Charleston region have seen tremendous successes as a result of our collective commitment to building and providing these high-quality educational opportunities for the citizens in our community. As an Apprenticeship Ambassador we are passionately committed to expanding these opportunities within our community, to sharing this vision with others, and to promoting and supporting the development of Registered Apprenticeships in other communities across the nation.”
Trident Technical College is a national leader in apprenticeships. The college has worked with local employers for more than 40 years to offer adult apprenticeships. Since 2014 the college has worked with employers, Apprenticeship Carolina, local school districts, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and philanthropic donors to offer youth apprenticeships for high school students. As an Apprenticeship Ambassador, the college has committed to work with more local employers, K-12 partners and community organizers to expand to 400 apprentices across 10 industry sectors in the next year. The college will also develop new Registered Apprenticeship programs in mechatronics, transportation and education. As a partner in New America’s Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) Initiative, Trident Tech is committed to offering technical training to communities across the country so they can rapidly adopt Registered Apprenticeships.
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