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CAEL President Joins Apprenticeships for America Board of Directors

Since its launch earlier this spring, Apprenticeships for America (AFA) has been enlisting experts with diverse specialties to further its mission. They include nonprofit leaders, former senior federal policymakers, employers, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, apprenticeship providers. 

And, as of last week, they also include Earl Buford, CAEL president. In a May 12 announcement, AFA named Buford to its board of directors, calling him “one of the nation’s leading voices in workforce development.”

Pointing to upheaval in the labor market, Buford called for new approaches to solving equity gaps and hailed apprenticeships for their potential to drive equity in the workplace. “I'm grateful for the opportunity to join [the AFA] team and help advance their mission,” he said. 

AFA aims to leverage its deep bench of thought leaders to sustain an effective registered apprenticeship system and ensure it has a role in shaping the nation’s strategy for work-based learning at a “time when outstanding alternatives to higher education and training have never been more needed.” But despite ample evidence showing that apprenticeships can tackle labor shortages while forging equitable career pathways, the nonprofit organization says not enough U.S. businesses and policymakers have embraced the model. 

Accordingly, AFA hopes to stoke an appetite for apprenticeships in the U.S. on par with countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, where they are more prominent and prevalent. It notes that the pandemic has made evident the chronic nature of economic inequity, and points to its years of experience showing apprenticeships “can help solve some of the biggest challenges around access to talent, skills shortages, and workplace equity.”

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