Cheryl Thompson, An Apprenticeship Success Story

Posted By: Nicole Isenberg (deleted) Blog,
Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the number of female apprentices has increased 218% from 2014 to 2019, and women now make up approximately 12.5% of active apprentices compared to 9.4% in 2014!
           Cheryl Thompson
                  Founder and CEO

                  Center for Automotive Diversity,

                  Inclusion and Advancement               

"I absolutely loved my apprenticeship because it opened me up to a whole new world!  When I was given the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship program, I assumed I would be training to be an electrician or pipefitter.  I was excited because I figured if I even was laid off, I’d be able to find work anywhere with the skills I would be learning.

As a single mother, up until I started my apprenticeship, I was working 5 different part-time jobs.  Once I found out how much I would be making in my apprenticeship, I felt like I won the lottery!  In addition to a good wage that would allow me to work 1 full-time job, I received a tool check to purchase my own tools, my trade school courses and books were paid for, and I received a check for the hours I spent in school.  Once I completed my apprenticeship, I only had to take 6 more courses to complete my associate degree.  Thanks to my employer’s tuition assistance program, I was able to continue my education to earn a bachelor’s degree and eventually my MBA from Michigan State University.

My advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship it – DO IT!  It is something you will have forever – no one can take it away from you.  While friends I went to high school with were paying off college debt, I was completely debt-free and making more than most people my age.  It may be uncomfortable at first but stick it out – you will not regret it, and you never know where it will take you!"

Learn more about Cheryl's story and the benefits of apprenticeship programs in WiM's Registered Apprenticeship Program Best Practices Webinar on March 29!


Through the Women in Manufacturing Association's® (WiM) partnership with Jobs for the Future, WiM Corporate Members, Chapters, and Individual Members have access to a streamlined way of building their own Registered Apprenticeship Program. Jobs for the Future works to connect interested corporations with the appropriate partner to carry out a successful and equitable Registered Apprenticeship Program by providing technical assistance in recruiting, retaining, and training women in manufacturing Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

A Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a proven model of apprenticeship that has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency. RAPs give employers the ability to access a diverse pool of talented potential employees who are prepared to step into entry-level management positions through obtaining paid-work experience, classroom instruction, and nationally recognized qualifications. 

 Inquire About bulding your own program! Interested in Joining a Registered Apprenticeship Program?