Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

November 17, 2017 at 12:05pm

Direct2Apprenticeship: Learn more about apprenticeship programs

A Direct2Apprenticeship networking event was held back in May 2017 for attendees to learn more about the many apprenticeship opportunities available to them and more. Photo credit: Paul Cruz, WDVA

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Transitioning servicemembers and veterans interested in learning more about apprenticeships, specifically construction industry apprenticeships, are invited to the upcoming Direct2Apprenticeship event being held on Camp Murray from 9 a.m. until noon, Nov. 28.

This event provides an opportunity to hear from a multitude of employer panelists, to hear more about GI Bill benefits in apprenticeships, and to look at what industry-specific employment opportunities are available.

These Direct2Apprenticeship events partner attendees with training directors, employers and apprenticeship coordinators from construction industries in Washington State with the common goal of getting veterans employed.

Partnership is primary for success in the Direct2Apprenticeshp program.

"Partnership is at the heart of the success of this program," said Washington Department of Veterans Affairs Employment Track Program Specialist Rachel Roberts. "Without the support of other state agencies, the interest from employers to employ veterans, and support agencies willing to help fund and coordinate events, this program would not have the ability to meet the needs of veterans and transitioning servicemembers."

Hearing from various industry experts and employers can be an influential advantage for attendees, as well as a way to test out the water with a deep dive of information before fully committing.

"Direct2Apprenticeship events have been successful in getting veterans and transitioning servicemembers directly into several apprenticeship programs," said Roberts.  These events also better educate and inform servicemembers about the benefits they've earned and how to properly apply to apprenticeships."

This specific Direct2Apprenticeship program will focus on the construction industry.

"The Construction Direct2Apprenticeship is structured as both an information session and a job fair," said Roberts. "The first half of the event consists of speakers talking about what is an apprenticeship and how the GI Bill works with apprenticeships."

After the speakers portion of the event, a panel board will be held, consisting of some of the larger employers in the local area, as well as representation from various trades and city representatives.

"The room will then be setup for a speed networking event, where attendees will talk with various apprenticeship programs for about three to five minutes and then rotate to the next program," said Roberts.  "The goal is for all attending servicemembers to talk with every employer/apprenticeship coordinator present, allowing them to better understand all the opportunities for employment through apprenticeships in Washington State."   

Direct2Apprenticeship events are not just based around construction either.

"Apprenticeships are available in many industries outside of construction and they are growing at a very fast rate," added Roberts. "Other industries with available apprenticeships include aerospace manufacturing, information technology, safety, cosmetology and culinary, while other industries, such as banking, claims, nursing, clean energy and human resources are looking at adopting the apprenticeship model."

If nothing else, the Direct2Apprenticeship event will serve as an updated information session on different ways to utilize the GI Bill, as many servicemembers are unaware that they can use their GI Bill for an apprenticeship.

"If the servicemember chooses to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill, it will pay 100 percent of whatever they were allocated when they transitioned for the first six months/1,000 hours," added Roberts. "Every six months after, or 1,000 hours worked, the GI Bill will decrease by 20 percent, as the GI Bill continues to decrease as pay increases."

Direct2Apprenticeship events fall under Governor Jay Inslee's Washington State Military Transition Council (WSMTC).

Governor Inslee and Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs (WDVA) remain committed to transitioning servicemembers and the veteran community in Washington State, which is why they have created the WSMTC.

"This council is focused on supporting our transitioning military community into the Washington State economy through living wage jobs," said Roberts. "A third, to a half, of those transitioning from the local bases stay in Washington State."

The Direct2Apprenticeship program helps to create a well-trained workforce that is ready to bring impactful attributes and skillsets into Washington businesses with one of the council's objectives focused on promoting state registered and GI Bill approved apprenticeships.

"Most servicemembers don't realize the amount of industries utilizing apprenticeships as a training development and recruitment model for their business,' added Roberts. "These are living wage jobs that increase the pay rate every 1,000 hours of work, until a journeypersons wage is reached."

Direct2Apprenticeshp events are informative ways for transitioning servicemembers to network directly with numerous unions, non-unions, employers, and others.

"The ability to network in your industry of choice, in the state you plan on transitioning into, is key to a smooth and successful transition from service," said Roberts. "You can learn a whole new marketable skillset with a mentor alongside you teaching you the tradecraft."       

To learn more about upcoming Direct2Apprenticeship events and/or to register for the Nov. 28 event, please contact Rachel Roberts at RachelR@dva.wa.gov or visit wa.gov/direct2apprenticeship-construction-camp-murray-event.

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