National Apprenticeship Week: Upskilling Field Service Techs

As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, new scholarship programs and accredited colleges and vocational-technical schools help empower the skilled trade technicians of tomorrow. 

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), an initiative launched to showcase and value how Registered Apprenticeship —not only in traditional trades but also in new and emerging industries— is celebrated from November 14 to 18 this year.

The initiative provides a critical talent pipeline that has the potential of addressing some of the nation’s pressing workforce challenges such as rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, addressing critical supply chain demands, supporting a clean energy workforce, modernizing the cybersecurity response, and responding to care economy issues.  

In 2021, more than 241,000 new apprentices entered the national apprenticeship program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that 16 million students were enrolled in vocational training programs. The NCES estimates that between fall 2020 and 2030, total undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase by eight percent to 17.1 million students.

GPS Insight, a provider of SaaS-based fleet and field service management software solutions, has recently announced the launch of its Skilled Trades Scholarship program, which will award two scholarships worth $10,000 each to students planning to pursue full-time skilled trades study at a college or vocational-technical school in the 2023-2024 academic year.

To support the professional development of employees, while accounting for significant talent shortages, many employers can invest in their employees’ success by allowing them the time to upskill through skilled trades study at a college or accredited vocational-technical school, according to Belinda Rueffer, Vice President of Marketing at GPS Insight. “A necessity for trade verticals is to make the industry more attractive to recruit, cultivate, and retain top talent,” she said. 

“Millennials and Gen Z have different expectations of the companies they work for compared to previous generations,” Rueffer said. “Younger workers want to join an industry that is innovative, utilizes digital technologies, supports career growth, and is future focused.” 

“Although traditionally considered to be more stodgy than innovative, more elbow grease than brain power, today’s field services and technical vocations are extremely cutting edge and often require years of hands-on training and upskilling to keep pace with emerging technologies,” Rueffer said. 

Rueffer, who has been recognized as a leader in transportation and supply chain by Moxy, The Voice of Women in Infrastructure, believes that to ensure a more secure future, skilled trade industries must take concrete measures like upskilling, reskilling, and fighting misleading perceptions by creating a culture around vocational education. 

According to GPS Insight, there are no colleges/schools partners limiting students’ election. Students who are selected for the scholarship programs will need to prove their acceptance to any accredited skills trades training/education program of their choice. 

The program is now accepting both applications and nominations to empower the skilled trade technicians of tomorrow. The deadline for submissions is December 31. Winners will be notified on January 15, 2023.