Sacramento Mayor Salutes Professional Development Graduates
Workforce Development Professional Apprentices Boost Their Careers

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Megan Bailey was training to be a graphic artist just as the labor market was drying up. “If only I had a career coach,” she said, referring to the time when she was out of work and in need of some guidance and reassurance.

She ended up taking her career in a different direction and transformed herself into the very resource she needed all those years ago. Bailey became a job coach. 

For the past nine years she has helped hundreds of individuals, including homeless men and women, receive the services and training they need to enter the job market. Bailey grew so effective that friends, neighbors, and even the children of previous clients turned to her when searching for work.

And now, Bailey has become one of 17 graduates of a professional development program that’s caught the imagination of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

“I feel like I was reborn in the nine months that I had in this apprenticeship.” – Megan Bailey, graduate

Bailey was selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Workforce Development Professional Apprenticeship Program at the College of Continuing Education (CCE) at Sacramento State. The Sacramento Employment & Training Agency (SETA) recommended frontline staff with exceptional customer skills and leadership potential for the accelerated training.

Video: Mayor’s Vision Starts With Teens

During the program’s graduation ceremony, then Mayor-elect Steinberg highlighted the city’s growing economy and the role of workforce development professionals to connect “industries and jobs to young people in our community.” And especially in places like Del Paso Heights and South Sacramento, he added, where “young people need attention, where kids need attention.” 

“And that’s why your work is so important,” Steinberg told the graduates, in guiding the educational and career paths of individuals starting when they’re 14 years old. The mayor wants young people equipped with the skills and education they’ll need for the high-paying jobs he envisions as Sacramento’s economy grows.

Video: 3 Apprentices, 3 Stories of Success

Bailey credited the program for its “cutting edge level” of workforce development training. “I started off as a workforce development professional with no accredited workforce training and now, I feel I have the capacity of being a workforce development leader,” she said, referring to the 144 hours of classroom instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training in this first of its kind program in California.

Apprentices Think Big

Like any apprentice, Bailey and her classmates covered the basics of their profession, like interpersonal communication and career coaching, but also beyond to include project management and business planning. “We learned economic development and how to strategize to see how companies can come into the region,” said graduate Ira Ayers.

The apprentices began to see the big picture of workforce development. “We’re not just engaging job employers and job seekers but bringing community resources together to help customers on their path in finding fulltime employment,” said graduate Brandon Anderson.

“There was no focused or coordinated avenue” of training for workforce development professionals until the apprenticeship came along, said Robin Purdy, one of the program’s instructors. She was SETA’s deputy director when the apprenticeship came into fruition and is now chief deputy director at the California Workforce Development Board.

With the nine-month program under their belt, the apprentices advance to “journey level workforce development professionals and will be selected to lead new projects and develop innovative ways to train and place job seekers with employers,” Purdy said.

Both Bailey and Anderson went on to new jobs as they were completing their apprenticeship. The California Workforce Association (CWA) recruited them and a third apprentice to provide workforce training and leadership on a statewide level.

“This was an amazing day,” Bailey said, following the graduation ceremony at CCE in November 2016. “If someone were to say that they were born in nine months, I feel like I was reborn in the nine months that I had in this apprenticeship.”

For more information on the Workforce Development Professional Apprenticeship Program, please contact CCE Senior Program Manager Babette Jimenez at jimenezb@csus.edu.