Two years ago during his State of the Union address, President Obama challenged employers and educators to double the number of apprenticeships offered by 2019. It seems that they are listening.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reports that since the 2014 State of the Union address, the United States has experienced “the largest growth in apprenticeships in nearly a decade,” and that there currently are more than 445,000 active apprenticeships nationwide.
This trend benefits both employees and employers. For employees, apprenticeships offer an education—in many cases at no or low cost to participants—as well as a clear career path forward through new skills, higher wages, and opportunities to advance, according to the DOL.
For employers, “apprenticeship is a proven strategy for recruiting, training, and retaining a highly skilled and diverse workforce. The apprenticeship model helps businesses increase productivity and profitability by tackling talent shortages to develop a pipeline of employees trained to succeed.” In addition, the DOL reports that employers get back $1.47 in benefits for every $1 they invest in apprenticeship.
CVS Health has recognized the value of apprenticeships for years and, as part of the inaugural nationwide National Apprenticeship Week, recently announced a major expansion of its DOL Registered Apprenticeship program to include new markets and new fields.
“National Apprenticeship Week provides business, education, and community leaders, as well as students and workers, with the unique chance to elevate and expand the conversation around the positive impact of apprenticeships in America,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “For decades, the skilled trades have led the way in developing and refining American apprenticeships … [F]orward-thinking companies like CVS Health are using the same ‘earn while you learn’ foundation and applying it in never-before-seen ways to expand opportunities for working people in America.”
In 2005, CVS Health became the first employer to launch a Registered Apprenticeship program for pharmacy technicians. In the past decade, the company has placed more than 1,500 colleagues in Registered Apprenticeship career tracks in retail pharmacy and management and has pledged to double that number in the next 5 years.
“Registered Apprenticeships provide participants with structured training to maintain the high level of skill needed in complex fields, such as pharmacy care, and equip participants with a nationally recognized portable credential that will help them advance their career,” the company states.
“At CVS Health, we know the value of investing in the communities we serve, particularly in workforce development,” said David Casey, vice president, Workforce Strategies, and chief diversity officer. “Through programs such as Registered Apprenticeships, we are not only helping to equip community members and potential job candidates with the tools they need to succeed in their careers, we are also ensuring that our company has a strong pipeline of talented colleagues.”
As part of its commitment to double the number of apprenticeships it offers, CVS Health is partnering with workforce agencies across the country to create new Registered Apprenticeship programs and to expand existing ones. Specifically, with support from DOL American Apprenticeship Grants, the company and its partners plan to increase existing opportunities for pharmacy technicians in Michigan and expand such opportunities in five other states.
In addition, CVS Health will expand opportunities for retail store managers in Rhode Island, develop new programs for pharmacy technicians in specialty pharmacy services in Michigan and Wisconsin, and develop a new program in Texas. CVS Health also is exploring the possibility of offering apprenticeship opportunities in other fields, such as logistics.
In tomorrow’s Advisor, more apprenticeship news from the DOL.