Chattanooga-Hamilton County becomes one of five Apprenticeship Innovation Districts in the country

The program will be a collaboration between Hamilton County, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County Schools, the Benwood Foundation, Chattanooga 2.0, and BuildWithin.

A group of people posing together in front of a stage.

Michelle Rhee of BuildWithin — a national apprenticeship intermediary — and community leaders announced the program yesterday.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

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Just in time for National Apprenticeship Week, Chattanooga-Hamilton County was selected as one of five Apprenticeship Innovation Districts in the country.

What does this mean?

Over the next four years, over $1.5 million (through a Department of Labor grant + local investments from the city, county, Hamilton County Schools, and the Benwood Foundation) will go towards establishing and strengthening apprenticeship programs in the area.

The program is geared toward both our community’s youth + adults, who will be able to earn wages while learning and moving into careers.

And while the word “apprenticeship” may elicit thoughts of strictly construction or manufacturing trade jobs (or, if you’re part of the niche group of people who are familiar with Nicholas Cage’s full filmography, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”), this program will help expand apprenticeships into a variety of industries, such as:

  • IT
  • Digital Marketing
  • Data Analysis
  • Videography
  • Front-End, Web, or Blockchain Development

Here’s why it’s cool

Every year, ~11 million jobs go unfilled, with employers citing inability to find a skilled workforce.

Meanwhile, over ~9 million unemployed or underemployed people who could move into these jobs don’t due to lack of assets, resources, and training.

Apprenticeships help to bridge that gap. For example: Say you wanted to move into a technology job, but don’t have the skills. You also don’t have the time or ability to go back to school and get a degree — plus, you need to continue making a livable wage. Apprenticeships can allow you to gain those skills, earn a salary and benefits (or, in the case of a current student, earn school credentials), and transition into a technology role.

Want to get involved?

If you are:

  • A business leader or HR professional interested in exploring apprenticeships at your company
  • An individual interested in launching a new career
  • Affiliated with a community organization that can recruit or support new apprentices

... connect with Chattanooga 2.0 to get involved.