Month-long Observance Celebrates the Start of Apprenticeship Programs
News Release, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation
BALTIMORE (May 1, 2019) – Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed May as Apprenticeship Career Pathways Month in Maryland. The month-long observance raises awareness of apprenticeship programs and the opportunities they provide to workers and employers in increasing skills and strengthening the workforce.
“May marks the graduation season and is a time when many of Maryland’s students are considering the next step in their careers,” said Governor Hogan. “Apprenticeship Career Pathways Month recognizes the value of apprenticeship programs in our state, as well as the many opportunities available through on-the-job training and instruction.”
For students heading straight to jobs and careers after graduation, the month of May can hold another type of celebratory event: signing day. On signing days, new apprentices endorse their letter of commitment with a sponsor, indicating their intention to join an apprenticeship program. Governor Hogan’s proclamation acknowledges these events, and recognizes their significance as a start to a promising career.
“These young men and women have made the determination to follow a career pathway. That determination is an accomplishment in and of itself, and we celebrate that in a simple event: signing a student into our career programs. These programs offer a profitable career, full benefits, a respectable retirement, and a living wage to work and live in Maryland, and all without the college debt,” said Timothy Haley, training director for the Plumbers & Gasfitters UA Local 5. “It is an honor to sign the future of tomorrow into our organization, and we celebrate this choice for our children.”
By declaring May Apprenticeship Career Pathways Month, Maryland wishes to celebrate the achievement of new apprentices, and hopes to increase the public’s awareness of the long-term value of apprenticeship.
“Maryland’s low unemployment rate and strong economic growth can create challenges for employers looking to fill positions,” said Acting Labor Secretary James E. Rzepkowski. “Apprenticeship can overcome those challenges by offering Maryland businesses numerous benefits, including a skilled workforce, increased productivity, and low turnover. For apprentices, their programs are a tremendous growth opportunity, and the start to a long and rewarding career.”
Apprenticeships are full-time careers that include on-the-job training and classroom instruction, allowing apprentices to earn while they learn. Many apprenticeship programs partner with local institutes of higher learning, allowing apprentices to earn credit toward college degrees.
Since the beginning of the Hogan administration in January 2015, the number of registered apprentices has grown by nearly 20 percent. Last fall, Maryland reported over 10,000 apprentices for only the second time in the history of the program.
Throughout May, the Maryland Department of Labor will attend signing days across the state, and will present the governor’s proclamation to apprenticeship sponsors hosting signing day events.