Apprenticeship Forward

Charting the path for high-performing American apprenticeships

Apprenticeship Forward is a national conference that will help chart a path toward a future where millions more American workers and businesses reap the benefits of a high performing apprenticeship system built through the collaboration of the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. Check out our pre-conference blog series to get a feel for the topics under discussion.

Apprenticeship Forward will bring together hundreds of leaders from the apprenticeship community, including industry associations and employers; unions and labor-management partnerships; community-based organizations; community colleges; high schools; and workforce boards – as well as federal and state policymakers from throughout the country. It will focus on three critical challenges facing the expansion of apprenticeship in the U.S.: increasing industry engagement across a range of sectors and firms; addressing equity issues while diversifying the apprenticeship pipeline; and implementing new public policies that can support industry’s taking apprenticeship to scale.

Apprenticeship Forward will feature engaging plenaries and dozens of focused breakout sessions. Conference participants will spend time talking to and learning from each other in working group discussions. Industry and training experts from across a wide range of sectors will facilitate these interactive sessions. They will be an opportunity for conference-goers to share successes and challenges in expanding or diversifying apprenticeship in specific industries and within different student or worker populations. 


Sponsoring Partners:  

National Skills Coalition, New America, AFL-CIO Working for America InstituteAdvance CTENational Association of Workforce BoardsNational Fund for Workforce SolutionsNational Governors Association, and Urban Institute (list in formation). 

With the support of:

Annie E. Casey FoundationJoyce FoundationThe JPB FoundationJP Morgan Chase & Co., and Siemens Foundation

In consultation with: 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career Technical and Adult Education

Schedule at a Glance

Thursday, May 4

  • 8:00 am – 10:00 am:  Breakfast and Opening Plenary: The State of U.S. Apprenticeship in a Changing Economy
  • 10:15 am – 12:15 pm:  Industry Discussion Groups (conference participants invited to one of 10 discussion groups)
  • 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm:  Lunch, Guest Remarks and Plenary: Diversifying the Apprenticeship Pipeline
  • 2:15 pm – 3:45 pm:  Population Discussion Groups (conference participants invited to one of 7 discussion groups)
  • 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm:  Concurrent Breakouts: Effective Practices and New Innovations
  • 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm:  Reception and Guest Remarks

Friday, May 5

  • 8:00 am – 10:00 am:  Breakfast and Plenary: State Policymakers at the Forefront of U.S. Apprenticeship
  • 10:15 am – 11:45 am:  Concurrent Breakouts: Federal and State Policy Models and Challenges
  • 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm:  Lunch and Plenary: Leadership from U.S. Departments of Labor and Education (pending)
  • 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm:  Concurrent Breakouts: Discussions with federal agency staff at Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Transportation (pending)


Working Group Discussions

Apprenticeship Forward will build understanding of the current state of American Apprenticeship both through (1) plenary and panel presentations by national and local experts and (2) working group discussions between attendees themselves, in which diverse groups of practitioners, employers and policymakers share and learn from each other’s efforts to expand and diversify apprenticeship within specific industries and on behalf of specific student and worker populations.

When registering, attendees will identify their first and second preferences for the working group discussions in which they would like to participate. Expertise is not required to participate in a group. Those new to that area will have the opportunity to hear from other leaders in the field as they share both successes and challenges.

Discussion groups will be co-lead by content leaders both from the employer and the trainer perspectives. 

Industry Discussion Groups:

  • Construction
  • Information Technology / Cybersecurity
  • Finance / Business Services
  • Retail
  • Hospitality (hotel, restaurant)
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation / Logistics
  • Other industries being considered, based on attendee preferences: Marine manufacturing / technology; childcare

Population Discussion Groups:

  • In-school youth (high school)
  • In-school youth (college)
  • Out-of-school youth
  • Low-income adults (limited basic skills, immigrants,
  • Women (particularly in building trades, IT, manufacturing)
  • People of color (particularly in building trades, IT, manufacturing)
  • Veterans

Hotels & Additional Information:

Hotel rooms will be available through the conference block at the Washington Hilton for $289/ night. Please call the hotel directly at 202.483.3000 or connect via our customized registration link to make your room reservation. Please identify yourself as an Apprenticeship Forward attendee. To guarantee the special group rate of $289.00 per night plus applicable taxes, you must make your reservation no later than April 12, 2017

For questions regarding registration and logistics, please contact Liz Gray at 856.983.0257. For questions about conference content, please email Jan Bray.