Forbes Business Council

Franklin CEO Shares Views on Tech Layoffs in Forbes

Franklin CEO Shares Views on Tech Layoffs in Forbes

Why The Recent Tech Layoffs Do Not Signal The End Of The Tech Skills Gap

In her latest article for Forbes Business Council, Franklin Apprenticeships’ Founder and CEO, Kim Nichols, explores what the recent wave of tech layoffs means for the tech skills gap. She points to four reasons why the tech skills gap will persist until more companies think differently about the way they hire and develop talent.

1) The rebalancing in the tech sector is not as big as you might think.
2) A recession in 2023 is not a done deal and the labor market remains tight.
3) The supply and demand gap for tech talent continues to worsen.
4) Traditional tech recruitment is not keeping up and continues to restrict diversity

Read the full article here.

6 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Professional Life

6 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Professional Life

By Meredith Millett, Director of Talent Solutions, Franklin Apprenticeships

The beginning of the new year is a great time to set some goals for yourself, personally and professionally. Below are some great New Year’s resolutions for your professional life, which you can use as inspiration to build out your career goals for 2023.

In your job search, it’s important to remember that if you’re looking to enter the tech field for the first time, you are starting from the beginning, and that’s okay! My top tip is to keep an open mind to any opportunity. You never know where it could lead.

know your career goalsKnow your goals

Take the time to reflect on your long-term and short-term goals for your career. Consider any new skills you’d like to learn and where you see your career five years from now.

Career Advice: know your career goalsPractice your elevator pitch

You find yourself in an elevator with the CEO of your dream place of employment. What can you tell them about yourself in 60 seconds that could make you stand out? Practicing this will help you maintain concise and clear responses in an interview.

Career Advice: Continue NetworkingNever stop networking

Networking not only helps you find hidden opportunities, but it also allows you to work on your communication skills. Make these connections online and in person, and continue to build those relationships.

Career Advice: Focus on time managementFocus on time management

Don’t overbook yourself when scheduling for interviews. Ensure that you’re giving yourself enough time to reflect after each interview and consider if the position and company are a good fit for you.

Career Advice: Keep learningKeep learning

Keep up to date with the skills and qualifications employers are looking for in your field. Take advantage of Franklin Apprenticeship’s new SkillsBuild platform.

Career Advice: Give yourself a breakGive yourself a break

Job hunting can be stressful. Don’t forget to give yourself time to relax. Take the time to do things that you enjoy so you can show up to interviews feeling your best.

The Role of Trade Unions in the US Apprenticeship Arena

The Role of Trade Unions in the US Apprenticeship Arena

An Interview with Dr. John Gaal, Director of Training & Workforce Development, STL-KC Carpenters Regional Council

You run apprenticeship programs in the states. What is the role of trade unions in delivering high quality programs?

I have served as the Director of Training & Workforce Development for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council since 2003. As such, I superintend nine training schools in three Midwest states: MO, KS, and IL. These locations serve >15 post-secondary registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs) mainly covering carpentry, cabinetmaking, millwright, and floor laying occupations.

Trade unions in the US play a vital role in some of the most effective and efficient RAPs overseen by the United States Department of Labor’s (US-DOL) Office of Apprenticeship (OA). To be clear, these RAPs are not union-run programs! Back in 1947, Congress (Taft-Hartley Act) changed national labor laws to ensure that both labor and management had an equal voice at the board table. Although the Fitzgerald Act of 1937 serves as the basis for RAPs today, known as 29CFR29, joint apprenticeship programs (JAPs) are usually set up as trust funds under the aforementioned change in 1947. This is a key factor as to why these JAPs’ committees produce the best results when it comes to graduation rates and total compensation. Why? Because the JAP committee—made up of both labor and management representatives—is obliged to make decisions in the best interest of the industry on behalf of the apprentice!

Unions also play another important role. It is by means of a legal contract that both labor and management agree to terms and conditions of an hourly contribution for training purposes. The contract, in effect, becomes the collection vehicle for the employee/member benefit—known as training—which is administered by the trust fund mentioned above. More often than not, in the US construction industry, apprentices are indentured to the JAP…not a single contractor. This multi-employer model allows apprentices to work for any signatory contractor which, in turn, provides for a wide range of OJT learning opportunities. Therefore, when it comes to JAPs, the notion of “poaching” is virtually non-existent! (In the St. Louis area alone, more than $30m is “privately” invested annually into the +15 JAPs.) While, on the other hand, typically in the non-union arena, poaching remains a big issue as well as the quality of training most likely due to a lack of a trusted intermediary and willing partners (competitors). 

What do you think of the claim made by some that the trade unions can sometimes block progress?  

As with most any organization or issue, there are often good and bad characters impacting outcomes. In the US, nearly 70% of the registered apprentices are in the construction industry—of which, approximately 80% of those are in joint labor-management affiliated JAPs, as noted above. It is unfortunate that when so many people in the US hear the word “apprenticeship”, one of two things comes to mind: unions or construction. Growing RAPs in the US will require the US mindset to move beyond those paradigms…it does not have to be either! Nonetheless, construction-related union-affiliated JAPs are often held up as the model for RAPs in the US. In St. Louis alone, the Carpenters JAP provides nearly 150 career days, etc. annually at regional K-12 schools and other community gatherings. Due to global competition, most unions realize that in order to survive they need to grow their programs and expand their intake processes. This includes becoming more inclusive with regards to recruiting and retaining people of color, women ex-offenders, veterans, and people with disabilities. Nearly all these unions have recognized that their jointly trusted JAPs are their competitive advantage going forward and need to leverage it accordingly!

Interestingly, the JAPs receive very little to no federal funding to operate their JAPs. (In the interest of full disclosure, less than 5% of the Carpenters JAP’s budget in St. Louis is made up by the federal government.) Yet, companies looking to expand into the RAP ranks are being enticed by seed money from federal grants. Eventually, these funds will run out! Hopefully, US-DOL’s OA has a plan in place to ensure sustainability of these new RAPs. As a union representative and a trustee of the St. Louis JAP, I am concerned about this most important issue…some may view this as “blocking” progress. I prefer to consider it as being a good steward of the taxpayers’ funds. 

Do you have any advice for companies thinking of expanding their business in the USA? 

Without a doubt, I am a huge fan of the Apprenticeship 2000 (A2000) model in Charlotte, NC. Other than in the US constructions trades’ JAPs, the European influence of apprenticeship has been around since the mid-1990s. As noted above, intermediaries are integral to the growth of RAPs in the US. The difficult piece will be the time spent developing better relationships within non-traditional and emerging industries. For without trust, the JAP (or intermediary) model will not be sustainable. In my opinion, it is in the best interest of all industry stakeholders (i.e., companies, workers, training & education providers, and communities) to examine the pros and cons of a program like A2000. Upon investigation, they will find that German and Austrian advanced manufacturing firms operating in the US set aside their competitive differences in order to pool their talents and address the skills shortage issues in their area.

With that said, I think the best place to begin these discussions is within the K-12 school system. Far too often, in the US, the growth of RAPs is only viewed from the horizontal approach (i.e., expanding into other sectors like Health Care, etc.). In order to double the number of apprentices by 2019 this myopic approach simply will not work. We must embrace the concept of vertical growth as well! To this end, students in the upper-secondary grades are a ripe and captive audience for firms and industries as evidenced by the A2000 model…especially in light of the college debt crisis that looms in the US economy.

Finally, do you have any goal you’d like to achieve by the end of 2017?                   

I have a few goals I am working on concurrently:

Linking the RAPs with college/university pathways: Parents play a big role in steering their children towards post-secondary options. For the past +35 years too many US parents have embedded the notion that a college degree is the ticket to the middle class. This myth was dispelled after the 2007 Great Recession began. The idea of graduating apprentices four years after high school who earn +$35/hour and hold a college degree will surely connect with parents.

Furthermore, by coupling the US-DOL Journey-worker certificate with a college degree, the system adds value to the graduate’s future by providing options beyond one’s trade/industry.