Project Update: AmSkills Apprenticeship Recruitment Initiative


In February, the first iteration of the AmSkills Apprenticeship Recruitment Initiative, an ARM funded Education & Workforce Development Project, resulted in 12 participants receiving job offers. With more workers out of jobs and manufacturers less willing to take risks, the team understood the importance of rapidly adapting the program to operate during COVID-19.

Project Participants

AmSkills (PI), Pinellas County Urban League
SkillNet software was used to track apprentice skills and abilities.

The Original Approach

The AmSkills Manufacturing Career Discovery Workshop and Bootcamp operates as a fast-track program to recruit and assess candidates for manufacturers to hire into entry-level positions. The one-day workshop and two-week Bootcamp utilizes the AmSkills Mobile Workshop and sets-up a temporary workshop at a local community center located in a low-income community. The program centers on industry-identified skills and uses 80% hands-on activities and projects to demonstrate ability. On the final day of the Bootcamp, multiple manufacturers conduct on-site interviews in a “speed-dating”, fast-track style format.

Early Success

Twenty people participated in the program’s first bootcamp in February with fifteen of eligible to immediately begin work. Twelve people from this group, including a 59-year-old homeless veteran and two participants with criminal backgrounds, accepted job offers.

An Updated Strategy for COVID-19

Though the AmSkills Apprenticeship project saw success earlier this year, the project team understood the importance of adapting the program to serve those who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic and the increased importance of providing manufacturers with trained and vetted workers. AmSkills recently hosted their first Manufacturing Career Discovery Workshop in Pasco County in Florida on June 27 using CDC guidance to safely conduct the workshop. This one-day workshop assessed the candidates’ readiness for a career in manufacturing. Twenty people participated in the workshop and sixteen will participate in the two-week bootcamp taking place July 13-24. Of the twenty people who participated in the assessment, 21% had lost their jobs due to fallout from COVID-19.

Following the same format as the program they hosted earlier in the year, AmSkills has engaged with 10 actively hiring companies with a combined 43 open positions for the fast-track interview portion of the bootcamp. Completion of the workshop guarantees the 16 participants job interviews with nearby manufacturers, including ARM Member Lockheed Martin.

Next Steps

AmSkills plans to hold more workshops and bootcamps each month through the rest of 2020 and has 51 people on a waiting list for future workshops. In a time of uncertainty, the AmSkills Apprenticeship Recruitment Initiative provides a proven and industry-vetted training service that can operate safely during COVID-19.

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The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute catalyzes robotics and workforce solutions to strengthen the US industrial base. Structured as a public-private partnership, ARM is funded by the Department of Defense and works with its 240+ member organizations that span government, industry, and academia to secure our nation’s future. The ARM Institute is part of the Manufacturing USA® network. Learn more at

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