The Road to 500,000 Apprentices

Ideas and Innovation for Expanding Apprenticeship in California
Oct. 30, 2020

Two years ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom set an ambitious goal of reaching 500,000 active apprentices by 2029. Apprenticeship is a proven but underutilized workforce and education strategy connecting Californians to better jobs and higher wages, while meeting the talent needs of employers. The Governor’s vision for the dramatic expansion of apprenticeship across a range of industry sectors would be transformative for California’s workers, students, and diverse regional communities. To reach the 500,000-apprentice goal, state policymakers can take steps today that build on innovations already underway and position apprenticeship as a core strategy for an inclusive recovery and a more just economy.

Reaching half a million apprentices demands building on California’s strong tradition of apprenticeship, but also a clear state strategy to support the growth of programs in new sectors such as advanced manufacturing, healthcare information technology, education, and beyond. Across California today, there are examples of regional and statewide innovations working to create and grow apprenticeship opportunities into these new fields for workers and students across the state’s diverse regions and communities.

Accelerating and sustaining these innovative strategies and practices will require proactive steps by state policymakers, including: supporting dynamic regional partnerships, building stronger connections to the state’s education and workforce systems, and using apprenticeship to meet state, county and local governments’ own talent needs. As the state confronts the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus, state policymakers can begin to position apprenticeship as a core recovery and good jobs strategy for the years to come.

Join New America’s Center on Education & Labor (CELNA) and apprenticeship innovators from across California for a discussion of a set of new state policy ideas that can support the dramatic expansion of apprenticeship opportunities in California. The culmination of a year of research, these policy ideas build on the experience of leading apprenticeship practitioners whose efforts to date and plans for the future can help show the road to 500,000 apprentices in California.


Joya Chavarin, @berkeleycc Dean, Math, Science, Business, and Applied Technology at Berkeley City College

Charles Henckels, @NorcoCollege Apprenticeship Director, Riverside Community College District

Pam Knapp, @SJCOE Director, College and Career Readiness, San Joaquin County Office of Education

Kelly Mackey, @CA_DIR Regional Director, Strategic Partnerships Department of Industrial Relations Apprenticeship, California Department of Industrial Relations

Sudharsana Srinivasan, @Sudharsana_SS Developer Program Coordinator, IBM Z Ecosystem

Salvador Vargas, @SJDeltaCollege Dean of CTE & Workforce Development, San Joaquin Delta College

Natalie Weaver, @chaffeycollege Manager, Apprenticeship and Grants, Chaffey College

Randi Wolfe Executive Director, ECEPTS (Early Care & Education Pathways to Success)