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SHRM Foundation Creates HR Apprenticeship Program

The new Human Resource Registered Apprenticeship Program uses a 'learn-and-earn' model

A smiling woman sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

​The SHRM Foundation is launching an apprenticeship program to help employers develop human resource specialists at their organizations, Foundation executive director Wendi Safstrom announced Feb. 10. 

The Foundation is one of 28 organizations that was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap program, which supports large-scale expansions of apprenticeships in a range of industries.

Through its Human Resource Registered Apprenticeship Program, the Foundation will offer employers of all sizes:

  • Guidance in tailoring the coursework and on-the-job learning to meet their needs.
  • Recommendations about educational institutions that can provide classroom learning.
  • Resources to recruit apprentices and provide supportive mentoring.
  • Assistance in completing all federal reporting requirements.

There has been a push in recent years to use apprenticeships to develop skilled labor, including knowledge workers. President Joe Biden has said he wants to put $50 billion into workforce training by creating partnerships among community colleges; businesses; unions; universities and high schools; and state, local and tribal governments. And in 2017, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing the DOL to create guidelines to encourage greater industry participation in work-based learning programs, which resulted in the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program.


The Foundation's program will help close the skills gap in HR by allowing individuals to earn wages while receiving hands-on training to successfully fill high-skilled, in-demand HR specialist positions, Safstrom said. Apprenticeships allow employers to provide customized training and are a way to tap into a more diverse pool of job candidates, such as people with disabilities, individuals without four-year degrees, people who were formerly incarcerated, veterans and older workers.

"Amid a changing workplace landscape, it's more important than ever for employers to develop diverse talent with the skills and experience needed to manage the realities of the 21st century workplace," Safstrom said in a statement announcing the initiative. "In partnership with visionary employers and the volunteer leaders of SHRM chapters and state councils, we are confident registered apprenticeships will mobilize the power of HR to provide innovative solutions and inspire the next generation of leaders for years to come."


It's also hoped, Safstrom noted in a blog post about the Foundation's initiative, that HR professionals who go through the apprenticeship program will become advocates for this training method at their own organizations.

Employers interested in working with the Foundation can register at

Other SHRM resources:
Modern Apprenticeships Offer Young Adults On-the-Job Training with Pay, SHRM Online, October 2020
New DOL Rule Would Create Nongovernment-Run Apprenticeships, SHRM Online, June 2020
COVID-19 Changes Internships, ApprenticeshipsSHRM Online, April 2020 



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