The US state Idaho has passed US $ 4.25 million Federal Grant for innovation and expansion of an Industrial Sewing Apprenticeship Programme.
The need for this Industrial Sewing Apprenticeship became apparent when COVID-19 created a disruption to fashion industry supply chains and the demand for US-made products increased.
The programme was launched through an Innovation Grant to assist US fashion manufacturers in training a new demand in the workforce.
Voxn, an Idaho-based women’s active lifestyle brand, is behind the programme that partnered with Idaho Department of Labor and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to write the curriculum for a Pre-Apprenticeship class that prepares interested participants for entry into the State Apprenticeship.
The first Pre-Apprenticeship cohort was taught by both IRC and Voxn in May 2021. The pre-programme started as an eight-week hands-on training programme, but quickly grew into a 12-week programme.
The Industrial Sewing Apprenticeship is destined to undergo a massive expansion through the help of the Federal Grant. The Apprentice audience has expanded from those in the refugee communities to various demographics and has been claimed to be a life-changing experience for the participants.
With the ongoing steam of various manufacturers showing a need for this specialty trade, the expansion of the Industrial Sewing Programme is headed towards a traditional further education environment for Apprentices who have satisfied their on-the-job development. This further education gives Apprentices the opportunity to receive nationally recognised accreditation, leading to multiple opportunities for wage increases.
With Industrial Sewing becoming a less common skill, implementations of these programmes are to regain those skills in the United States. With the uncertainty of how supply chains will continue, the need for stateside manufacturing has become that much more apparent, and Apprenticeships could be the solution for the country, as it was for Boise, Idaho.