Maricopa County has launched a program aimed at creating a sustainable pipeline of apprentices to support the growing industries in the region. The program, administered through the Human Services Department (HSD), includes investments and partnerships with educational agencies, training providers, and employers to create a pipeline that can expedite the workforce to meet industry needs. The primary goal of the program is to expand the apprenticeship program, which has been achieved through additional funding and a dedicated team.
The apprenticeship program has been designed to offer practical training and hands-on experience to apprentices in various industries, including healthcare, technology, construction, and more. The program provides apprentices with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen field, while also meeting the needs of employers. The outcomes of the program are expected to be an increase in the number of skilled workers in the region, a reduction in the skills gap, and improved economic growth for Maricopa County.
Need Addressed by the Program
The development of the apprenticeship program in Maricopa County was prompted by the need for a skilled workforce to meet the growing demand in various industries. With companies like TSMC (1600 jobs) and Intel (3000 jobs) set to create thousands of jobs by 2024, it was clear that the region needed a sustainable pipeline of workers who were skilled and ready to meet the demands of the job market. Additionally, many individuals looking to obtain the necessary education and training did not have the luxury of time without any income. The program addresses this issue by allowing individuals to earn a livable wage while obtaining the credentials needed for a sustainable career. Maricopa County has a legal obligation to take action and provide its residents with the necessary resources to succeed in the workforce.
The nominated program in Maricopa County is a partnership initiative with the Arizona Office of Apprenticeship aimed at encouraging and supporting companies to create apprenticeship programs. The program's objectives are to address the growing need for skilled workers in various industries and to provide individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen fields.
The time frame for the development and implementation of the program is ongoing, with the County committing to establishing a sustainable pipeline of apprentices. The program's clientele includes individuals looking to obtain the necessary education and training to secure a sustainable career and companies seeking skilled workers to meet their workforce needs.
Maricopa County's role in implementing the program is to provide funding for tuition, books, and supplies for the first year of the apprenticeship, which is when most expenses are accrued. Additionally, the County's support enables programs to expand their cohort size, leading to overall program growth. Other partners, including educational agencies, training providers, and employers, are also involved in the program's implementation.
Responding to Economic Downturn
The apprenticeship program in Maricopa County is proving to be a valuable investment into the workforce, especially during times of economic downturn. With the County using ARPA funding to establish the framework for a sustainable partnership with several employers and training providers, the program is providing individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen field.
The industries and positions supported by the program include construction, electricians, manufacturing, IT, and healthcare, all of which are considered in demand in the current economic climate. By providing individuals with the necessary training and education, the program is helping to bridge the skills gap and address the shortage of skilled workers in these industries.
Additionally, apprenticeships are proving to be an amazing pathway for those being forced to change career fields due to the instability of other industries. The program is providing individuals with an opportunity to obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to secure a sustainable career, thus improving their economic outlook.
The expansion of the apprenticeship program is helping to respond to the economic downturn by providing individuals with the necessary tools to succeed in a challenging job market. By investing in the workforce, Maricopa County is positioning itself for economic growth and stability, while also addressing the needs of its residents.
Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Leaders in Maricopa County are taking steps to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into County operations by working with organizations that provide direct services to marginalized populations, such as CPLC, Fresh Start Women's Foundation, and St. Joseph the Worker. These partnerships are aimed at creating opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds and promoting inclusivity in the County's operations.
Furthermore, there is a deliberate effort being made to encourage women to join historically non-traditional industries such as construction. Employers in these industries share the belief that a diverse workforce leads to better culture and outcomes, and the County is actively promoting this perspective.
By integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into County operations, Maricopa County is promoting social justice, creating more opportunities for underrepresented groups, and fostering a more inclusive environment for all. This approach helps ensure that the county's policies and practices reflect the values of its diverse population and are responsive to their needs.
The Maricopa County apprenticeship program recognizes that training in certain industries can be costly, and that funding is crucial for both the program's inception and ongoing support for its sustainability. To ensure that the program can offer timely services to participants, the County has fully funded four positions through 2026, dedicated solely to the expansion and enhancement of the apprenticeship program.
The cost associated with each program differs based on the industry and occupation, and the County has not had to put a cap on services at this point. This flexibility allows the program to be responsive to the unique needs of each industry and occupation it serves.
To date, the County has expended millions of dollars in supporting apprenticeships, and it has received a $12 million award to further enhance and expand these opportunities through 2026. These funds will ensure that the program can continue to provide high-quality apprenticeship opportunities that benefit both individuals seeking career advancement and industries that need a skilled workforce to thrive.
Results/Success of the Program
The Maricopa County apprenticeship program has seen significant success in meeting its objectives since its inception. One key measure of success is program growth. In FY21, the program funded 355 apprentices, and in the first half of FY22 alone, it funded 435 apprentices, demonstrating strong growth and demand for the program.
Looking ahead, the program is on track to serve over 3,000 apprentices through 2026, which would represent a significant increase in the number of individuals benefiting from the program. Additionally, the program has set a goal to double the number of available apprenticeship programs for WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) participants by the end of this year, further expanding the reach and impact of the program.
The success of the program can also be seen through the outcomes achieved by its participants. By earning industry-recognized credentials through apprenticeships, individuals are gaining the skills and knowledge needed to enter in-demand industries and secure sustainable career paths. This not only benefits the individuals themselves but also helps to meet the workforce needs of growing industries in the County.
The Maricopa County apprenticeship program has been successful in its goal of establishing a sustainable pipeline of skilled workers to support growing industries in the County, and it is well-positioned to continue expanding its reach and impact in the coming years.
The Maricopa County Apprenticeship Program has demonstrated an innovative and targeted approach to address the growing industry demands by partnering with educational agencies, training providers, and employers to create a pipeline that can expedite the workforce to meet industry needs. The program's commitment to establishing a sustainable pipeline of apprentices that support the growing industries, coupled with the expansion of the apprenticeship program with additional funding and a dedicated team, has resulted in impressive program growth, with 355 apprentices funded in Fiscal Year 2021 and 435 apprentices in the first half of Fiscal Year 2022 alone. The program is on track to serve over 3,000 apprentices through 2026, demonstrating its practicality and the framework for long-standing sustainability.
The Maricopa County Apprenticeship Program's success in doubling the number of available apprenticeship programs available for participants by the end of this year and its nationally recognized leadership in apprenticeship enrollments and post-program placement further highlights its effectiveness. The program's approach is not only meeting industry demands, but it is also helping to address the economic downturn by providing individuals with the necessary skills and credentials to have sustainable careers in essential industries.