Businesses Invited to Learn How Registered Apprenticeship Programs Can Meet Their Workforce Needs During National Apprenticeship Week Bookmark and Share

November 9, 2023

For Immediate Release: November 9, 2023

Businesses Invited to Learn How Registered Apprenticeship Programs Can Meet Their Workforce Needs During National Apprenticeship Week

The Maine Apprenticeship Program is Producing Results for State's Businesses

AUGUSTA - With unemployment near record lows and jobs near record highs, Maine set a goal in its 10 Year Economic Development Plan of adding 75,000 workers to its workforce by 2029. Connecting employers with a skilled workforce and workers with quality career paths requires many creative strategies. As National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 13-19) approaches, the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) is highlighting one strategy producing positive results for local businesses - the Maine Apprenticeship Program (MAP).

To educate businesses and help them better understand how Registered Apprenticeship programs can meet their workforce needs, the Maine Department of Labor is hosting a week-long series of virtual events during National Apprenticeship Week.

"The Maine Apprenticeship Program serves as a resource for employers seeking to recruit, educate and retain the skilled workforce they need. Good work lives here - right in Maine, and the Maine Apprenticeship Program is the gold standard for employers and job seekers in their pursuit of excellence," said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. "As we approach National Apprenticeship Week, we encourage businesses to explore this transformative program further. MDOL is eager to partner with more employers to demonstrate how this initiative can enhance their businesses and empower their employees."

Below is a select list of upcoming virtual events for Maine businesses. For the full list and to register, visit the MDOL National Apprenticeship Week web page.

  • Monday November 13, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.: "Panel Discussion: Apprenticeships Re-Imagined." Hear from current apprenticeship sponsors on utilizing registered apprenticeship programs to meet workforce needs beyond traditional trades. Get insights and engage in Q&A.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 12:00 p.m.: Apprenticeship Lunch & Learn with Amanda Muller from the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. Discover how to integrate services for people with disabilities into your recruitment and apprenticeship strategies.

  • Friday, November 17, 11:00 a.m.: Apprenticeship Info Session with the Maine Apprenticeship Program team. Learn about starting a registered apprenticeship program, its benefits, and next steps in a 30-minute session.

The Maine Apprenticeship Program Has Been Expanding

In January 2022, the Maine Department of Labor, through the Governors Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and other federal grants, made $12.3 million in grant funding available to Maine businesses to expand apprenticeship programs significantly. Fourteen organizations were selected to receive the grant funding in June 2022.

To date because of the grant program, the Maine Apprenticeship Program has expanded to 38 new businesses, registered 299 new apprentices, enrolled 539 in pre-apprenticeships programs, and established 18 certified pre-apprenticeship programs.

The grantees are not just focused on expansion; they are focused on ensuring apprenticeship and pre apprenticeship opportunities are accessible to all. Of the total participants involved in the grant programs, 25% are women and 21% are people of color.

"An apprenticeship, given the right opportunity, is invaluable," said Margaret Rende, Electrical Apprentice. "All you have to do is show up, work hard, and be eager to learn. If I had known about these opportunities in high school, I would have benefited greatly. I believe that this opportunity opens many doors for my future and a great career in my field."

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is Governor Janet Mills plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people, support businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for prosperity.

Reaching More Types of Businesses and Organizations

The Maine Department of Labor is developing and expanding apprenticeship opportunities in high-wage, in-demand industries including aquaculture, information technology, manufacturing, construction and clean energy, hospitality, healthcare and education. As of October 2023, the Maine Apprenticeship Program has 1,345 active apprentices and 365 participating businesses

"With the help of the Maine Department of Labor, the Union Construction Academy prepares women, people of color, formerly incarcerated people, and low-income individuals to enter careers with our Maine Building & Construction Trades Unions," said Sam Boss, the Apprenticeship, Workforce & Equity Director for the Maine AFL-CIO, who is a Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan grant recipient.

"Historically, these groups are underrepresented in the trades, but by going through our intensive four-week pre-apprenticeship, they gain valuable training and certifications and a direct pathway into stable, good-paying careers. They also receive soft-skills training and mentorship that will help them hit the ground running at their worksites," said Boss. "Weve had great results with our program so far, and we are pleased to see many of our graduates thriving in Union apprenticeships, earning while learning, and developing relationships with mentors who will help them to grow and succeed in the long run."

National Research Shows Registered Apprenticeship Model Works: Maine Program Nationally Recognized

The White House recently unveiled its Playbook: Workforce Investments That Work, highlighting a range of evidence-based strategies for workforce development. These strategies are being actively implemented by state and local governments, with support from the American Rescue Plan, to bolster their workforce, stimulate economic growth, and tackle the challenges faced by underserved workers. Among the notable programs featured in the playbook is the Maine Apprenticeship Program.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Registered Apprenticeship model has achieved the following results:

  • 91% of apprentices continue to work with their employer after concluding their apprenticeship because they feel more invested and supported.
  • The return on investment for a registered apprenticeship program is $1.46 for every $1.00 invested in an apprentice.
  • Apprenticeship graduates earn an average of $300,000 more in wages and benefits than their peers throughout their careers.

Governors Proclamation in Support of National Apprenticeship Week

Governor Janet Mills recently signed a proclamation declaring November 13th-19th, 2023 as National Apprenticeship Week for the State of Maine. During Maine Apprenticeship Week, businesses are invited to participate in a series of webinars to learn more about how Registered Apprenticeship can meet their workforce needs.

About the Maine Apprenticeship Program

Established in 1941, the Maine Apprenticeship Program has collaborated with employers across diverse industries to address their workforce needs and connect individuals with valuable training opportunities and high-quality employment. Under the administration of the Maine Department of Labor, the program offers a "learn while you earn" approach, enabling participants to acquire nationally recognized, transferable credentials without accumulating debt. Registered apprenticeships require a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and at least 144 hours of formal coursework each year, emphasizing safety, structure, mentorship and a clear progression path. As full-time employees of their respective businesses, apprentices benefit from wage and hour protections, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation, ensuring comprehensive support.