Earlier this month, we celebrated National Apprenticeship Week with a special bonus episode of the DE Talk podcast! In this episode, our Manager of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Strategies Mikey Meagher sat down with Joshua Johnson from Jobs for the Future (JFF) to talk about the seven components of Registered Apprenticeships, how to engage with your state apprenticeship system, the benefits of this type of employment, and more. Take a quick peek at this conversation before launching into the episode in its entirety!

Mikey Meagher:

To close out this wonderful conversation, and I feel like we could totally have a part two of this, I feel like you and I could probably talk all day, what’s one thing you want to leave us with or employers with regarding apprenticeships that maybe we haven’t really covered yet?

Joshua Johnson:

Ooh, yeah, you’re right. We could talk all day, Mikey, because we both have a passion for seeing this work go farther and farther. And I love talking to you about it because I see your eyes light up like, “Oh my God, this is so fantastic for DirectEmployers.” And we are looking forward to continued engagement with DirectEmployers over the next year. We’re looking for some great engagement. And for the employers that may be listening from DirectEmployers, we can’t wait to engage with you.

But if there was one thing I was to leave, is, as an employer, I said this earlier in the podcast, I want you to look out over your workforce and I want you to think about – what would it take for you to take that next step, whether it’s to become the best at what you’re doing locally, whether it’s to compete nationally or whether it’s to compete globally. Look across your organization, determine what that is, and then decide, “Will an apprenticeship help me to achieve those goals?” And if the answer is “yes,” if the answer is “I don’t know,” I want you to reach out to the respective agency in your state to begin a conversation. 

When I say that apprenticeship is the workforce tool that can eradicate poverty, I truly mean it. You have the ability to bring people into your organization with little to no skill, and when they walk out of your organization, to be highly skilled in an occupation. Not only highly skilled in occupation, but you’ve now put them on a career pathway to grow within your organization. And when you do that for diverse, underrepresented disenfranchised populations, you’ve now changed the culture at your organization. When we think about changing the culture at your organization, that first question I asked you, “What will it take to compete locally, nationally, or globally?” The number one thing that it’s going to take is to have a culture that welcomes everyone in your doors and shows everyone what it looks like to grow within that organization.

Registered Apprenticeship systems can help you do that. Registered Apprenticeship systems can not only help you do it, it can help you be successful at now attracting that talent into your door, making you into an organization that is focused on development. So, if anything I was to leave with, I’ll leave you with two of my taglines, Mikey. These are my famous taglines. They’re not trademarked, but that’s okay, but they’re two of my famous taglines. Number one is –  apprenticeship is for everyone. And I truly mean that, and I truly believe that. But the last one is a shout-out and an ode to my predecessor, the state director here in Wisconsin, Karen Morgan, who I love affectionately. She’s fantastic. But this is a saying she taught me that I continue to live my life with. “There are good ships and wood ships and ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are apprenticeships. And may they always be.”

Mikey Meagher:

I love that. That is a great takeaway. If there’s anything to take away from this, that’s what I’m walking away with. I love that.

Listen to the full conversation to hear more about apprenticeship programs, including what apprenticeable occupations look like in fields that would surprise you–and stay tuned for more from JFF in 2024. We’ve got some exciting things in the works! Want to be notified when new episodes of the DE Talk Podcast are available? Subscribe to our emails or SMS alerts to be among the first!

Kacie Koons
Share This