Workforce challenges is hardly a new topic these days, but sizzling negative headlines don’t tell the whole story, such as the many positive actions taken to attract and retain quality employees while improving diversity within our region. One such action that is brimming over with positive force is The Greater Washington Apprentice Network. In fact, the work of this program has been so impactful that we’re now expanding to include industry cohorts, starting with two focused on the banking and government contracting industries.
The Greater Washington Apprentice Network, or GWAN, directly helps businesses across the region grow and thrive while helping them solve some of their workforce challenges: hiring and training workers, increasing employee retention and loyalty, and increasing employee diversity. A free program open to all, the GWAN serves to connect companies and business leaders who are interested in exploring the possibilities of apprenticeship programs to the resources, experts, and peers to help them create a successful apprentice program within their own company. This includes connecting participating businesses with funding resources to help offset some of the costs of creating an apprentice program.
As the newest feature of the network, we are establishing industry-specific cohorts within GWAN, starting with banking and government contracting. There is a prevailing belief that government contractors can’t use apprentices—it’s a myth! GWAN can connect you to industry peers who have figured out how to use apprentices in government contract work. It’s the peer-sharing of how other companies have overcome similar obstacles that fuels GWAN and helps our participants start on the right path rather than flailing from scratch.
Established in 2020 and modeled after the Chicago Apprentice Network, The Greater Washington Apprentice Network was established to expand and evangelize the concept of apprenticeship to professional service and corporate headquarter roles. The GWAN’s founding employers are Aon, Accenture, Amazon Web Services, NT Concepts, Appteon, Nestle, and SHRM, and there are dozens more employers engaging with the network as they navigate the various steps and process of creating their own apprentice program.
GWAN hosts monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at 2PM. The upcoming February meeting will feature a briefing from Aon’s corporate HR team sharing insights on how they identified positions within their company that would be appropriate for apprenticeship, how they select which managers to pair with apprentices, and other HR considerations when creating and growing an apprentice program. Following the featured speaker, attendees have the opportunity to network, connect, and ask questions.
The Greater Washington Apprentice Network is a project of the Northern Virginia Chamber Foundation. Here is a link to register for the February employer briefing: