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Northeast to co-sponsor work-based learning summit

Northeast to co-sponsor work-based learning summit

NORFOLK, Neb. – Three Nebraska community colleges are collaborating to sponsor a summit this fall that will feature speakers from across the country discussing how business leaders can build a skilled employee pipeline through work-based learning pathways such as apprenticeship, high school training, and engaging in diverse population pools.

Central, Northeast and Southeast community colleges will host the “ELEVATE Your Workforce Pipeline” summit on Tue., Nov. 14, in Kearney. It is intended for business leaders, managers or human resources staff, chamber and economic development representatives, and those involved with training centers and workforce boards. High school administrators and counselors are also encouraged to attend. 

“The summit is designed to connect business and industry with education and discover ways we can partner together on building our future workforce,” said Kimberly Andersen, apprenticeship director at Northeast. “The talent pipeline has changed drastically over the last decade, and we all need to adjust, education included. Together we can build something great.”

Apprenticeship numbers are growing in Nebraska with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting that there are currently nearly 4,100 active apprentices in the state.

Governor Jim Pillen will kick off the summit by sharing his vision for apprenticeship and work-based learning opportunities in Nebraska. 

“The Governor is passionate about engaging young people in employment training programs such as apprenticeship,” Andersen said.

The event will also feature Dr. Rebecca Lake, ambassador of ApprenticeshipUSA. She is particularly well-known for her time at Harper College, where she began a national movement for community colleges to be Registered Apprenticeship sponsors in 2015. Lake has since hosted conferences and published several articles featuring apprenticeship programs and developing best practices. In 2023, she was appointed by the U.S. Department of Labor to a two-year term as a national Apprenticeship Ambassador. Lake has a wealth of knowledge in successful design and implementation of work-based learning programs which she will share with industry and educational providers at the summit.

Special guest speaker will be Tony Trapp, 2022 Association of Career and Technical Educators Work-Based Learning Professional of the Year. Trapp has spent the last 11 years of his career as the work-based learning/apprenticeship coordinator for Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua, Ohio. 

“Tony’s efforts to establish and increase state-recognized pre-apprenticeship programs has led to opportunities to present at numerous national, state, and regional meetings,” Andersen said. “His knowledge and expertise is in-demand, and we are excited to engage with him here in Nebraska.”

The summit will also include both an employer and apprentice panel where representatives will share their experience with apprenticeship and work-based learning programs. Panelists will provide first-hand accounts on how businesses can be successful with apprenticeships and why leaders should consider apprenticeships to recruit talent to their businesses. The day will wrap-up with breakout sessions which will allow participants the opportunity to learn about beginning, funding, and recruiting for work-based learning opportunities in Nebraska. 

The “ELEVATE Your Workforce Pipeline” summit will be held Tue., Nov. 14, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the Younes Conference Center North in Kearney. Cost is $49 per person for full-day conference attendance, which includes lunch on site. 

“We encourage business leaders, HR professionals, supervisors, high school administrators, guidance counselors, and career and technical education instructors to attend this event to learn more about how we can build the future workforce pipeline together,” Andersen said.

To register or learn more about the event visit