Opening Doors of Opportunity: Empowering Women Through Registered Apprenticeships


Opening Doors of Opportunity: WiM and Jobs for the Future Empower Women through Registered Apprenticeships

For women working in the manufacturing industry, having access to registered apprenticeship programs can make all the difference in their career’s trajectory. For the past three years, Women in Manufacturing (WiM) has partnered with Jobs for the Future to make sure women have access to education and certification. By empowering women who may not have had these opportunities otherwise, the foundation strives to create a more inclusive and diverse industry.

WiM’s collaboration with Jobs for the Future stems from Jobs for the Future's receipt of a grant from the Department of Labor, enabling them to work with various apprenticeship programs, including WiM’s initiative. Unlike other partners that have their own apprenticeship programs, WiM focuses on promoting registered apprenticeship programs through marketing efforts and connecting corporate members with suitable opportunities. “We do whatever it takes to get corporate partners and members to find out more about registered apprenticeship programs and to consider starting one in their own company or to have individuals look for registered apprenticeship programs to join,” says Jen Amburn, Special Projects with Women in Manufacturing.

Through engaging videos, social media posts, webinars, and targeted advertising, WiM strives to educate individuals and companies about the benefits of registered apprenticeship programs. By creating quarterly informative webinars on best practices, WiM showcases success stories, shares industry insights, and addresses commonly asked questions, ultimately encouraging more companies to consider implementing apprenticeship programs. “We try to pick out different topics based on what we're hearing companies wish they knew. Recruiting is a big one,” says Amburn. As are the success stories. “We had a woman come on who started her career as an apprentice and now she owns her own consulting firm and worked her way up all through Ford as the global leadership,” says Amburn.

Registered apprenticeship programs offer numerous advantages for both employees and employers. Apprentices enter the program with little or no formal training and gradually acquire skills and knowledge through a combination of courses and practical experience alongside certified journeymen. These programs typically span several years and provide apprentices with a journeyman's certificate, specialized knowledge, and often an associate or bachelor's degree. What sets registered apprenticeships apart from other apprenticeship programs is the certification is obtained through government oversight, allowing apprentices to carry their credentials to other companies, which fosters professional mobility. Furthermore, registered programs offer tiered raises throughout the apprenticeship, ensuring financial stability for participants. “I’ve been talking to apprentices who say, ‘I got my first house at 19 because I am working full-time and getting my degree and I don't have any college debt,’” says Amburn.

For employers, the benefits are far-reaching as well. Companies benefit from well-trained employees with specialized knowledge who also feel a sense of loyalty toward the company. “They're training people on their thing so they know that in the end they're going to have somebody who has superior knowledge over all of their manufacturing facility,” says Amburn. “And, you have a loyalty to the company because you just had somebody who paid for your schooling and paid for your apprenticeship. You have a happy employee and they want to stay.”

WiM acts as the initial contact for companies interested in exploring registered apprenticeship opportunities. Upon completing an interest form, a call is scheduled by WiM to collect pertinent information, offering a comprehensive overview of the interested parties’ needs and aspirations. WiM's team then collaborates with Jobs for the Future to guide and simplify the intricacies of establishing an apprenticeship program. “Jobs for the Future is holding your hands through this complicated process,” says Amburn.

And, perhaps the biggest perk? All of these services are completely free, allowing companies to explore the possibilities without financial constraints. “We just want to have this conversation,” says Amburn. “The best-case scenario is we're going to start a program with you, and it's going to be successful and now you have all of these new trades employees.”

The partnership between WiM and Jobs for the Future has been helping shape the landscape of manufacturing by empowering women through registered apprenticeship programs. By disseminating information, showcasing success stories, and providing personalized support, WiM and Jobs for the Future aim to create pathways for women to enter and excel in the manufacturing industry. With registered apprenticeships, women can gain valuable skills, earn certifications, and secure a prosperous future in a traditionally male-dominated field. Companies, in turn, benefit from a skilled and loyal workforce. Through this collaborative effort, WiM and Jobs for the Future are making strides towards a more diverse and inclusive manufacturing sector.

Click here to learn more about the partnership and to learn more about how your company can establish a registered apprenticeship program.