Apprenticeship Opportunities Create Sustainable Talent Pipelines

Emily Griffith Technical College Trades and Industry Building. Photo: R&R Engineers.
Kelsey Glass

By Kelsey Glass

Due to “The Great Resignation,” companies in several industries specific to commercial development have had to seek different and less-thought-of sources for recruiting and hiring talent than what has traditionally worked in the past. Gone are the days of posting a job on a recruitment website or association job board and garnering a multitude of applicants. Today, potential employees need to be sought out in other ways.

For more than 106 years, Emily Griffith Technical College has offered apprenticeship programs to allow people to “earn and learn” on the job. Apprentices earn a wage while getting hands-on experience in a specific position, learning on the job and in a classroom. Apprentices also have a mentor on the job for support and guidance. Classroom instruction hours are flexible to meet the needs of apprentices who are working in the industry.

Over the past several months, Emily Griffith Technical College’s apprenticeship programs have grown as businesses look for new ways to recruit and hire employees to fill their employee pipeline. This trend of working with a technical college to recruit new talent helps the business hire apprentices who then become trained employees; through the program, they gain the specific skills and background that the business needs. This recruitment tool can be seen in a variety of industries impacting commercial development including electrical, construction, and HVAC, for example. Apprenticeships are employer-driven and are, for multiple reasons, a proven pathway to recruit, train and retain employees at a company.

First, the employer creates an apprenticeship program that fits their own needs. If there is a hole that needs to be filled in their workforce or if there are specific skills that are needed to do a certain job, the apprenticeship program is created to train for that exact position. The employer determines everything, including what the apprentice will learn and what they will be proficient in. The employer also identifies the educational content or works with the educational provider for support on that component. At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice earns a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor showcasing completion, as well as any additional industry certifications built into the program.

Second, investing in employees through an apprenticeship program is a successful way to show employees that they are valued and needed, helping to retain them. This also connects back to showcasing a positive company culture for employees. While apprenticeships are most often connected to trade positions, they can also be used for professional jobs, like accountants, project managers, office managers and more. In fact, apprenticeships can be used in any position where specific skills are needed to successfully complete a job.

Because apprenticeships have proven so successful in helping businesses attract and hire new employees, Governor Jared Polis enacted into law that apprenticeships will be a state-specific focus for Colorado through the new State Apprenticeship Agency, which will be fully operating in July 2023. The apprenticeship programs supported by Emily Griffith Technical College are the U.S. Department of Labor. Registered Apprenticeship Programs provide clear rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure high-quality programming. One of these regulations is that the college must make sure its programs are matched with high-demand industries like those in the trades. With the huge. increase in construction needs in our state, this is one area where we are seeing major growth in the number of apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships can come about in one of two ways. Emily Griffith works with the industry to identify opportunities for apprentices within that specific vertical. The college then creates a sustainable pipeline. to help people be successful. Alternatively, businesses or industries may reach out to Emily Griffith with a specific need. As the school that is powering Colorado’s workforce, it is our goal to help people get good jobs and help businesses hire good employees.

While Emily Griffith’s main campus is located in downtown Denver, as a partner in registered apprenticeship we work across the state of Colorado. If you are struggling to hire, there are talented people who can help support you along the way, including at Emily Griffith, through our many programs. If you haven’t already done so, consider an apprenticeship as an avenue to fill workforce gaps in any industry or for any role.

Kelsey Glass is the dean of apprenticeship at Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver. She creates sustainable pipelines to help people be successful, working directly with industries to see where there are growth opportunities and where there is a supply/demand gap that Emily Griffith can help fulfill.

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