By JIM HEDEMARK
Special to The Stand
SPOKANE (Nov. 18, 2020) — IBEW Local 77 along with many unions, employers, education institutions, and elected officials in Eastern Washington made great strides this past week to celebrate and promote National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 8-14.
“I am very proud of the unions, employers, academic and elected leaders in Eastern Washington that stepped up this past week to promote apprenticeships,” said IBEW Local 77 Assistant Business Manager Mike Brown. “For us, every week is apprenticeship week, and yet, it is gratifying to have received coverage from local news outlets and interest from people from all walks of life during this past week. The earn-while-you-learn work goes on.”
A Facebook page showcases the week’s activities.
Launching the week on Sunday, Brown and Avista Utilities Director of Safety and Craft Training Jeremy Gall co-wrote an op-ed for The Spokesman-Review that highlighted, “Apprenticeships are important career pathways that provide individuals with a unique combination of education, paid work experience and a certification or credential. Most typically associated with the trades, they are more than just jobs.”
On Monday, the Spokane City Council proclaimed the week Apprenticeship Week in the city. Council President Breean Beggs previously shared, “Solid apprenticeships are the proven way forward for individuals seeking good wages, businesses seeking to grow and the community seeking sustainability. I celebrate national apprenticeship week.” See Spokane’s proclamation here.
Spokane legislators also joined in.
“National Apprenticeship Week is our opportunity to celebrate opportunity! Apprenticeships are higher education for those who are driven to climb high, and develop skills that provide a living for a lifetime,” said Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane). Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) provided his thoughts by video.
“Please join me in increasing awareness about the compelling earn-while-you-learn opportunities during National Apprenticeship Week and beyond!” said Spokane Public Schools Board President Jerrall Haynes.
On Wednesday, Spokane Public Radio posted an interview with Kenna May, Manager of Apprenticeship at Spokane Community College.
“It’s an age-old way to learn a trade,” said May, who also serves on the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council. “You earn while you learn. That’s the motto of an apprenticeship. Earn while you learn. I don’t know of any other post-secondary education where you’re getting paid to learn.”
On Thursday, the Spokesman-Review published “Area apprenticeships continue to enroll applicants amid COVID-19” featuring interviews with Spokane-area union members and training directors.
“Fortunately, we had most of our hands-on training done for the year. We were able to complete classroom training that typically goes through May online,” said Jon Medaris, training director for IBEW Local 73’s apprenticeship program.
“Registered apprenticeships help Washingtonians get the training and workforce experience they need to build for the future while still earning a living and receiving a paycheck,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “As we continue navigating the economic consequences of the COVID crisis and many workers in Washington state face unemployment or struggle to make ends meet, registered apprenticeships can help change lives, boost our economy, and get people back to work.”
Interested in apprenticeship? Get more information at the Washington Building Trades website about registered apprenticeships in the building trades or the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries website for information on other apprenticeship opportunities.
In the meantime, here’s a video describing as day in the life of an IBEW apprentice.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:
Apprenticeship: ‘It means having a future’ (Jan. 21) — An Ironworkers 86 apprentice’s success story catches Gov. Jay Inslee’s attention.