Focus Shifts to Broadening Youth Apprenticeships During 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit

Apprenticeships are not an alternative to higher education. It is higher education. This sentiment rang loud and true during the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit, which in its second year, expanded the conversation of Youth Apprenticeships to not only aerospace and advance manufacturing, but other sustainable industries including healthcare, culinary and IT. What many consider to be a bipartisan topic, apprenticeships have long-stood the test of time to deliver career-ready skills and college-level classroom instruction to our nation’s high-growth, in-demand jobs, many which do not require a four-year degree.

Governor Inslee, during his keynote address, made it known that post-secondary education does not mean every student needs to attend a four-year institution, “It is a revolutionary change in how we think of our children’s future, and when we have a revolution, it’s great to be right at the beginning,” Governor Inslee said during his opening remarks.

“We need to grow this dramatically…90% of parents say their kids going to get a four-year college degree, but only 30% do…We have to stop telling our kids that you are a failure if you don’t get a four-year degree,” Inslee said.

Governor Inslee during his remarks at the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit in Olympia, Washington. 

A cultural change is needed in our communities if Youth Apprenticeship will continue to thrive. To do so, expanding the opportunities for students will make the goal of 100,000 youth apprentices over the next ten years realistic and obtainable. This commitment can only be met if other industries begin to expand their reach into the local high schools. Spokane started the charge with Youth Apprenticeships in Washington State and have since expanded their line of paid on-the-job training to industries such as healthcare, culinary, and manufacturing.

Governor Inslee also acknowledged the state’s first IT apprentice to enroll in a new program launched by the Washington Technology Industry Association Workforce Institute which aims to provide a pipeline of talent, particularly for “underrepresented groups such as minorities, women and veterans to gain training, certification and placement within the talent-hungry tech industry.”

Sam Yost (left) and Richard Oeun (right) pose for a photo after their Youth Apprenticeship Panel during the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit on January 30, 2018.

To move the needle on Youth Apprenticeships, many agree that businesses need to play a more prominent role in hiring the next generation of workers. From workplace variances to industry-aligned curriculum, businesses must be a part of the conversation if Youth Apprenticeships are going to thrive in Washington State.

Washington is one of 13 states to implement a structured, register Youth Apprenticeship program, joining others including Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Carolina and Colorado. Employers, high schools, post-secondary institutions and intermediaries make up the foundation of successful programs. The infrastructure needed for Youth Apprenticeships is great, but reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary. Brent Parton, Deputy Director at New America’s Center on Education and Skills closed the summit elegantly, “Youth apprenticeship is the biggest ask, with the biggest possible upside.”

Governor Inslee alongside Paula Yost and Sam Yost (AJAC Youth Apprentice) after his keynote address at the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit. 

Check out photos from the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit on AJAC’s Flickr page.


AJAC, February 1, 2018