We know that apprenticeship works. We’ve seen firsthand how apprenticeship models succeed in countries likeSwitzerland, Germany and the U.K. We’ve seen apprenticeship programs provide new and exciting opportunities for workers in the United States. And that’s why apprenticeship is a solution that we’re promoting both at home and abroad for a thriving 21st century workforce.
This week, I traveled to Beijing with Secretary Perez for the G20 Labor and Employment Ministerial Meeting, where the United States partnered with the G20 Chinese presidency to introduce the G20 Initiative to Promote Quality Apprenticeships. As part of a larger agenda on promoting decent work and inclusive growth, the initiative includes a call for governments to set national targets and a collective G20 commitment to increase the quantity, quality and diversity of apprenticeships. The initiative was adopted as part of the Labor and Employment Ministers’ declaration from Beijing and is one of the significant outcomes of a successful meeting.
These targets align with President Obama’s 2014 challenge to expand apprenticeship opportunities by doubling the number of apprentices in the United States. In the past two years, the United States has added more than 70,000 apprenticeships, nearly a 20 percent increase nationwide. The challenge has been to not only grow the number of apprenticeships, but also to include underrepresented groups such as youth, women and people with disabilities in greater numbers.
In the same way, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is promoting apprenticeships abroad with projects that seek to include vulnerable populations. ILAB will award $9 million in grant funding to support apprenticeship programs for vulnerable youth in Argentina, Costa Rica and Kenya. Another $5 million will go to a project to reduce child labor and increase economic opportunity for adolescent girls engaged in or at risk of child labor and vulnerable women in Zambia, including through apprenticeships. And we will continue our work in El Salvador, Honduras, Uganda and Ethiopia to support at-risk youth by providing vocational training opportunities to develop marketable skills and secure good employment.
All across the world, apprenticeship is a tried and true workforce development strategy that’s good for workers and good for business. We remain committed to promoting apprenticeship opportunities that help realize the promise of inclusive growth and decent work for all.
Credit : United States Department of Labor