Iowa Workforce Development leader attends Registered Apprenticeship roundtable at White House

Date: 
June 16, 2017

beth townsend roundtableIowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend was at the White House Thursday to attend a roundtable discussion with President Donald Trump, Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and eight governors. The discussion centered on expanding Registered Apprenticeship to help businesses train their workforce and fill open jobs.

Director Townsend is a strong proponent of Registered Apprenticeship. It combines on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction and allows the apprentice to earn a paycheck from day one. Registered Apprenticeship also aligns with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg’s priority of training Iowans for the jobs of tomorrow.

“Registered apprenticeships are a win-win solution for businesses, job seekers and the state’s economic growth,” Director Townsend said. “Registered apprenticeships are an important way for our state to reach our Future Ready Iowa goal of having 70% of Iowans with education and training beyond high school.”

“At the meeting with President Trump, it was clear that Future Ready Iowa positions our state well to close the skills gap,” Director Townsend continued. “In many ways, it puts Iowa ahead of other states in terms of what we’re already doing.”

“Preparing our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow is an integral part of ensuring the continued success of our state,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I commend President Trump for his leadership in highlighting and expanding vocational training and apprenticeship opportunities across our country.”

“STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education plays an integral role in Iowa’s Work Based Learning initiative,” Lt. Gov. Gregg added. “STEM BEST (Business Engaging Students and Teachers) currently connects 34 schools with 150 businesses in the state of Iowa and is a prime example of one of the many innovative ways Iowa is leading the nation in work based learning.”

After the roundtable discussion, President Trump signed an executive order to expand registered apprenticeship programs in the United States.

Iowa is a leader for incorporating Registered Apprenticeship into its workforce model. There are 780 active registered apprenticeship programs in the state with 8,186 active registered apprentices. From October to June, there have been 72 new registered apprenticeship programs created in Iowa.

There are initiatives to further expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities throughout Iowa. In October 2016, the state received a $1.8 million grant from the Department of Labor to achieve the following goals:

  • Increase the number of registered apprentices
  • Increase the number of registered apprenticeship programs
  • Grow registered apprenticeship programs in non-traditional, high-growth, high-tech industries including advanced manufacturing, health care and information technology
  • Expand registered apprenticeship programs to diverse populations, focusing on women, minorities, veterans, youth and individuals with disabilities

There are currently 44 businesses in Iowa exploring the Registered Apprenticeship model. Businesses who would like to learn more about Registered Apprenticeship should contact Amy Beller, Registered Apprenticeship coordinator at Iowa Workforce Development, at (515) 725-1035 or amy.beller@iwd.iowa.gov.