Wyoming Workforce Services Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Looks Toward Future of Programs

Republished press release through the DWS Public Affairs Office DWS-PublicAffairs@wyo.gov

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is participating in National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), November 11 – 17. Established by the U.S. Department of Labor, NAW is a nationwide celebration that brings together business leaders, labor, educational institutions, and Americans interested in the impact apprenticeship programs have on closing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for in-demand jobs.

DWS was recently awarded a $641K Apprenticeship Expansion Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, an award that Robin Sessions Cooley, agency director, says comes at an opportune time for the state. “Apprenticeships are industry-driven training programs which allow job seekers to earn a paycheck and learn a skilled trade at the same time,” says director Cooley, “and right now we need viable options for our citizens looking for high-wage jobs.”

Director Cooley said that while most people associate apprenticeships with long-established trades like welding and electrical work, opportunities are evolving in other sectors, such as technology and cybersecurity. “We know apprenticeships in the skilled trades continue to provide excellent opportunities for individuals to both learn a trade and earn a paycheck at the same time,” Cooley said, “and so we want to always be forward-looking with our programs.”

Laura Baker, co-founder of the nonprofit CyberWyoming, agrees. Baker says apprenticeships are vital to the technology industry. “Wyoming, like the rest of the nation, has a shortage of technology professionals. As cybersecurity awareness grows in our state, we have to have a pool of labor that can support the need. The Cybersecurity Technician and IT Specialists Apprenticeships are a solution to meet that growing need.”

Baker said employers also benefit from apprenticeships because they follow a standard of training. “Tech apprenticeships are competency-based so demonstrating competencies is key. Employers also reply on CyberWyoming as the sponsoring agency for the administrative work to manage the apprenticeship and also for soft skills training.”

“When the employee is finished with the apprenticeship, they receive a Department of Labor certificate that is valid nationwide.It is definitely a feather in their cap,” Baker said.

Last year alone, NAW saw more than 1,145 businesses, unions, and other industry and education partners participate in the celebration of apprenticeship programs across the country by hosting events and submitting proclamations.

For more information about apprenticeship opportunities in Wyoming, please contact Sheila Tenorio at 307-777-2892 or sheila.tenorio@wyo.gov.

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