Panel to focus on value of apprenticeship programs

Oakland County companies interested in building their talent pipeline are invited to attend a special luncheon and panel discussion on how to successfully implement registered apprenticeship programs.

Sponsored by Oakland County Michigan Works! and Oakland Community College, the event will be offered Tuesday, Nov. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at OCC. Companies interested in attending the "Apprenticeship Works" luncheon should contact Therese Geer at OCC, 248-232-4141, or email

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson issued a special proclamation to designate the week of Nov. 12-18 as "National Apprenticeship Week in Oakland County."

"While skilled trades and manufacturing may use the greatest number of apprentices, we're also seeing significant interest and the launch of apprenticeship programs across other industries, including health care and information technology," Patterson said. "This panel will discuss what resources are available to businesses through the county's Michigan Works! offices and OCC, the latest trends in apprenticeships and workforce development."

The joint Oakland County Michigan Works! and OCC event is part of National Apprenticeship Week. This nationwide celebration highlights the benefits of apprenticeships in preparing a highly skilled workforce to meet the talent needs of employers across a broad range of industries. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend nearly 2,000 events in all 50 states during the week.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Registered Apprenticeships, Michigan has more than 18,500 active apprentices working in nearly 1,300 apprenticeship programs. Nationwide, there are more than 500,000 apprentices. Over the past four years, U.S. companies have added 125,000 new registered apprenticeship programs.

The "Apprenticeships Works" panel will include representatives from OCC, Oakland County Michigan Works!, the Workforce Intelligence Network and Henry Ford Health System, which launched a successful medical assistant apprenticeship program earlier this year in partnership with OCC and Henry Ford College. The apprenticeship program is addressing the significant shortage of medical assistants in Oakland County and across the region.

"With the employment forecast, this apprenticeship program enables Henry Ford Medical Group to train new medical assistants and instill the Henry Ford Health System culture that focuses on each patient first," said Dawn Robiadek, manager of clinical care services.

Current medical apprentice Rita DeVault said the program benefits her career growth.

"The apprenticeship gives me hands-on training and the opportunity to put my skills into practice while building confidence in a working environment, while earning compensation," she said. "All this with no student loans or tuition fees."

Deputy County Executive Timothy Meyer said state data indicates nearly 90 percent of apprentices in various industries are employed after completion of their program with an average annual starting wage of $60,000.

From an employer's perspective, there are other advantages to launching a registered apprenticeship program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Among them:

- Recruitment and development of a highly skilled workforce.

- Improvement in productivity, profitability and a company's bottom line.

- Creation of flexible, customized training options.

- Standardized training so all workers receive the same national, industry-endorsed training.

- Reduced turnover and liability costs.

- Receipt of tax credits and employee tuition benefits in participating states.

"Apprenticeships pay off," Meyer said. "On average, apprentices earn $300,000 more over the course of their career than other workers. On the flip side, for every dollar spent on an apprenticeship program, employers get back an average of $1.47 in increased productivity."

Published: Mon, Nov 05, 2018