One of the joys of my job is visiting our sites around the country. Earlier this month, I traveled to Triad Workforce Solutions Collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina and got to see their great work with Guilford Apprenticeship Partners in action.
Triad Workforce Solutions Collaborative joins business leaders, educators, workforce development services providers and funders in creating a regional pipeline of skilled workers ready to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. Their GAP program supports apprenticeship opportunities with 33 companies throughout the region. Participants start the four-year program in 11th grade, earn a degree at a community college without paying tuition, and are paid for their apprenticeship work.
National Fund staff and board members donned our hairnets and aprons for a tour of LC America, a local food factory that offers apprenticeships as part of GAP. The GAP program works closely with high school guidance counselors to recruit students and has built strong relationships with local community colleges. Employers from a variety of industries lead GAP’s consortium, share learnings with each other, and enthusiastically recruit new employers. North Carolina has prioritized apprenticeships by removing the red tape for employers to engage with registered apprenticeships and GAP is making great strides in advancing this policy.
Bringing so many stakeholders together to promote meaningful earn-and-learn models is a heavy lift. But programs like GAP illustrate why our collaboratives are critical to turning great ideas into successful outcomes. Seeing their work up close is always energizing and a reminder of what we can achieve together to address workforce issues and take steps towards a brighter future.
As the year draws to a close, I reflect on excellent work like this happening at collaboratives throughout our network and I am grateful for everyone who has a hand in making it happen. Thank you to our hosts in Greensboro, Meridith Berger, Ann Flynt and Brian Norris. Also, a special thank you to Elicia Wilson, a long-time National Fund staff member who concluded her tenure with us this month. Though we will certainly miss Elicia, we look forward to welcoming someone as our new Chief Administrative Officer.