If You Are Not Hiring an Apprentice, You May Be Missing Out

A MACo Summer Conference session shares the workforce resource that apprenticeship programs hold for county employers.

At MACo’s Summer Conference, representatives of the Department of Labor, an employee union, and a local workforce development board provide insight into apprenticeship programs related to county employment.

James Rzepkowski, Assistant Secretary of Workforce Development and Adult Learning at the Maryland Department of Labor shared the department’s aim of addressing challenges of public sector and government side of apprenticeships through register apprenticeships. He also shared that registered apprenticeships do not only include a career in the skilled trades, but also include public sector programs such as fire, emergency services, corrections, water, and wastewater.

Tamara Robinson shares the work of SEIU on apprenticeships and the importance of apprenticeship funding from Maryland’s Department of Labor.

Tamara Robinson, Director, Training and Upgrading Fund for MD/DC for 1199SEIU, shared the role of her organization in providing education and training benefits with contributions from employers. 1199 is a healthcare workers union and works directly with institutes of higher ed to customize trainings that employers need. At the same time they work with apprentices to support their achievements and offer them continued career counseling services.

Walter Simmons, President & CEO, Employ Prince George’s Inc, one of 12 local workforce development board. Along with its 11 partners throughout Maryland, Employ Prince George’s works to improve local economies through workforce development. Simmons discussed how to tailor workforce programs locally, making use of union and state grant resources, encouraging attendees to assist businesses who are closing and failing through apprenticeships.

Senator Ben Kramer who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, which handles labor and industry issues, moderated the session.