Workforce Development Apprenticeship Program Wins Major Award

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The first apprenticeship program offered at Sacramento State, where participants earn a professional certificate, a promotion and a pay raise, has won a prestigious award and a congratulatory message from Sacramento’s mayor.

The Workforce Development Professional Apprenticeship Program at the College of Continuing Education (CCE) received the 2017 Engagement Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) West Region, which represents continuing education institutions and universities in the western United States and Canada.

With a vast array of partners in the workforce industry, government, business, labor and education, CCE developed a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship. It was designed for workforce development professionals, whose role in “mapping out the educational and career pathways for our students and workers is critically important to creating more high wage jobs right here in Sacramento,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg, in his congratulatory message.

The program combines an intensive 10-month curriculum in leadership, management and business development with more than 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and prepares workforce development employees for leadership roles.

The mayor has kept his eye on the program ever since he spoke to the first graduating class in 2016. The apprenticeship program, he added in his message, “exemplifies the essential collaboration needed to address the current needs of our employers while recruiting new jobs and investment to the region.” And for graduates, like Matt Hidalgo, the program was a life-changing experience.

Hidalgo entered the apprenticeship as a job coach for the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) and before it was over, the California Workforce Association (CWA) hired him as a program manager, and within a year he was promoted to program director in charge of million-dollar training programs.

Hidalgo credits the program for creating “a real pathway for mobility in the workforce system.”

The program’s development dates back to 2013 when the CSU Commission on the Extended University awarded a collaborative grant to campuses in Sacramento, Long Beach and Los Angeles to bolster training in the workforce profession. CCE took the lead in developing the first professional credential for the workforce industry and an apprenticeship at the university level that’s registered with the State of California Divison of Apprenticeship Standards. 

Kathy Kossick, SETA’s executive director, saw noticeable results as her job coaches went through the program. They not only learned “a common set of industry-valued skills” but the “knowledge to develop relationships and lead initiatives with labor and business partners.”

The apprenticeship program “has revolutionized and redefined the profession throughout California,” Kossick added.

On September 26, CCE Associate Dean Jenni Murphy and Senior Program Developer Babette Jimenez accepted the UPCEA West Region Engagement Award in Seattle, where the University of Washington hosted the conference. CCE will now represent the western region in UPCEA’s National Engagement Award competition, with the award presented in Baltimore in March.