The Arizona Apprenticeship program celebrated its 80th anniversary in June. In 1941, Arizona Governor Sidney Osborn signed into law HB 240, creating a new and effective workforce program for job seekers. Today, there are 249 registered apprenticeship programs, comprised of more than 4,000 Arizona apprentices.
Known as "the other four-year degree," apprenticeships give participants the unique opportunity of learning a new trade while also receiving a salary and a nationally-recognized completion certificate to help them launch a new career.
Helping Job Seekers Break Into New Fields through Nontraditional Apprenticeships
When you hear the word "apprenticeships," many people tend to think of occupations associated with traditional trades like electricians or plumbers. While these honorable lines of work will always be needed, the Arizona Apprenticeship Program has kept pace with the trends in the job market. In addition to traditional offerings, it has enhanced its program with apprenticeships in healthcare, information technology, cyber security and business services.
In fact, Arizona remains on the cutting edge of nontraditional apprenticeships. The Arizona Apprenticeship Office is pleased to partner with Maher & Maher and the CompTIA for the National Tech Worker Apprenticeship Initiative to create the first National Guideline Standards for new technology industry programs in Arizona. In early August 2021, the Technology Support Specialist apprenticeship program at GateWay Community College will become the first program to utilize the CompTIA National Guideline Standards.
Our team is extremely passionate about the success registered apprenticeship programs can bring to both job seekers who chose this career pathway as well as employers who are looking to hire, and welcomes the opportunity to partner in this movement to bring even more nontraditional registered apprenticeship programs to Arizonans.
In 2018, DES partnered with Liberty Mutual and the Arizona Commerce Authority to develop an apprenticeship to help Liberty Mutual engage with the untapped talent pipeline via apprenticeships, to provide a new pathway for job seekers to enter the insurance industry. We also launched the first barber apprenticeship following the passage of SB 1399, which allows individuals to receive credentials for barber certification through the DES Apprenticeship Program, saving them the cost of attending and receiving certification through an institute.
The Arizona Apprenticeship Office continues to forge new partnerships with employers and community colleges to expand the availability of opportunities statewide in both traditional and nontraditional fields, particularly in healthcare, advanced manufacturing and the culinary arts.
Another Pathway to a Degree
With the rise of coding academies and "bootcamps," it's clear employers understand the value of real, on-the-job training and experience, and that a traditional four-year degree may not always be warranted. That said, many apprenticeship programs offer college credit for classroom instruction, to the extent that some apprentices complete their programs with an Associate or Bachelor’s degree.
What for decades has served as an alternative to a college degree, now can also be a means to receive one, while also providing invaluable hands-on experience and a paid salary. While DES partners with ARIZONA@WORK to provide a myriad of workforce services to meet the needs of job seekers, they may also consider apprenticeship as a way to break into a new field. For more information about our apprenticeship programs, please visit www.azapprenticeship.com.
Please join us in celebrating 80 years of building new, fulfilling and long-lasting careers. As the Arizona economy continues to rebound and job seekers search for opportunities to break into new careers, apprenticeships will provide a prominent pathway for individuals to make an easy transition and find their true calling.