Industry and Workforce Leaders Gather for National Apprenticeship Week to Advance Solutions for a Stronger Economy

Published nov. 09, 2017

Jobs for the Future Launches First Virtual Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning

Contact information:

Tyler Nakatsu, Jobs for the Future, 857.268.4171,

Washington, DC, Nov. 09, 2017— National nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF), and their partners, today will host Celebrate Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, an event at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The event will engage over 350 industry and workforce leaders to garner their support and participation in the apprenticeship community, while providing a DC-based kickoff for National Apprenticeship Week.

Innovators and leaders from the work-based learning community—such as keynote speaker Governor John Hickenlooper, whose leadership in Colorado is helping establish 20,000 apprentices by 2026—will be publicly honored for their work. Honorees include: Amazon, Apprenticeship Carolina, Aon, Carroll County (GA) Chamber of Commerce, CVS Health, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, FASTPORT, Guilford Apprenticeship Partners, The Hartford, North America’s Building Trades Unions, National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors, Vice Media LLC, Robert Lerman, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP/BIG STEP), Wireless Industry Association, and Zurich Insurance North America.

Walmart is a key sponsor for this event, while providing initial funding for the launch of JFF’s new Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning through a $3 million grant. The grant is an important part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s Retail Opportunity Initiative, a five-year, $100 million sector-wide effort launched in 2015 aimed at making it easier for frontline workers to advance more quickly.

“JFF views work-based learning solutions as integral to the future of work for employers and those on the path to careers. Companies that use apprenticeship and on-the-job learning report higher retention rates and a substantial return on investment,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO at JFF. "We are excited to provide this national platform solely dedicated to select strategies to help advance our economy."

The Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning will centralize national resources, best practices, and technical assistance to underpin the development of successful apprenticeship and other work-based learning strategies that strengthen the skills of American workers and students. To address ongoing workforce challenges, JFF is leveraging 35 years of experience at the intersection of education and workforce to establish the repository, which will pilot and deploy new solutions designed to drive the adoption and scale of work-based learning strategies for talent development. The Center will be a resource for employers, industry leaders, states, workforce boards, community colleges, students, and community-based organizations to develop apprenticeship and work-based learning programs.

“We applaud Jobs for the Future for creating the new Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, which will play a critical role in strengthening the skills of students and workers across the United States,” said Bridget Gainer, vice president of global public affairs at Aon. “The new Center and Aon’s apprenticeship program share a common goal, providing an opportunity for talented people to develop the skills they need to compete and succeed in the economy of the future. Through our apprenticeship program, we have learned that combining classroom education with real-world experience gives students from two-year colleges a winning formula. We are proud to help these students forge a path to success.”

“Eighty years after the national apprenticeship act in the United States, few employers actively engage in apprenticeship or other forms of on-the-job learning. Although progress has been made in recent years, we want to have an impact by creating the Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning as a resource to stakeholders at all levels,” said Eric Seleznow, senior advisor at JFF.

Work-based learning solves a problem faced by many Americans: it’s hard to get a job without work experience, and hard to get work experience without a job. For employers, work-based learning provides a powerful solution to equip workers with the necessary skills to drive business success, while providing youth and adults the opportunity to gain the credentials, skills, and experience they need to enter and succeed in careers. Employers and workers alike are increasingly utilizing several models of work-based learning, like apprenticeship. Over the last three years, U.S. employers have added over 150,000 new apprentices, helping to build on the 80-year history of Registered Apprenticeship. An unprecedented influx of more than $265 million in federal funds to expand apprenticeship to new industries and communities has engaged thousands of new employers and other stakeholders in creating a modern apprenticeship infrastructure at state and local levels.

To learn more about the Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, please click here. JFF encourages individuals, businesses, and organizations that support apprenticeships to share their stories on social media using #apprenticeshipworks.

Partners for the Celebration include Advance CTE, AFL-CIO Working For America Institute, Global Apprenticeship Network, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, National Governors Association, National Skills Coalition, New America, and Urban Institute.



Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations in the United States. JFF develops innovative programs and public policies that increase college readiness and career success, and build a more highly skilled, competitive workforce. With over 30 years of experience, JFF is a recognized national leader in bridging education and work to increase economic mobility and strengthen our economy. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter.