Corporations, Foundations Launch Apprenticeship Initiative in Chicago

Corporations, Foundations Launch Apprenticeship Initiative in Chicago

The Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, a coalition of corporations and foundations with a significant presence in Chicago, has announced the launch of Apprenticeship 2020, a $3.2 million fund aimed at scaling high-quality work-based learning programs in the city.

To that end, JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce.org, the Joyce Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Aon, Accenture, and others will collaborate on efforts to accelerate the growth of non-traditional apprenticeships in high-demand industries and occupations, with the goal of placing three hundred and fifty apprentices over two years.

In partnership with the Chicago Apprentice Network, which was co-created by Aon and Accenture, the initiative will work to develop infrastructure, build capacity, and address employer barriers in the launching of apprenticeships and other types of work-based learning models. According to the coalition, the most effective earn-and-learn apprenticeship models feature a combination of classroom learning and site-based on-the-job training and explore new avenues for finding talent — including candidates from non-traditional sources.

To date, Apprenticeship 2020 has made a $1.25 million investment in City Colleges of Chicago to launch an office of Apprenticeship & Workforce Solutions, which will work with employers to develop apprenticeship programs, recruit students to apprenticeship opportunities, and implement academic curriculum for apprenticeship and work-based learning programs. To support those programs, the initiative also will provide funding to scale the programs of One Million Degrees, a nonprofit that provides pre-employment training, mentoring, and wraparound services to community college students in the state.

"The Pritzker Traubert Foundation is deeply committed to greater economic mobility for all Chicagoans and an essential part of achieving this goal is supporting employer-led efforts that lead to more opportunities for workers across our great city," said Penny Pritzker, a Pritzker Traubert Foundation trustee and former U.S. secretary of commerce in the Obama administration. "We are excited to support Apprenticeship 2020 and partner with the Chicago Apprentice Network to increase economic opportunity for individuals and families in Chicago."