A U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) initiative to strengthen apprenticeship opportunities in underserved communities has tapped local labor-management leadership as one of its ambassadors. Sylvester Taylor, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership, was selected as an Apprenticeship Ambassador by the DOL. Taylor is tasked with sharing his experiences and collaborating with the department to champion registered apprenticeship opportunities in high-demand industries to develop and expand opportunities for people historically underserved.
Established in November 2021, the DOL’s Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative is a national network of employers, labor organizations, industry associations, program sponsors, educators, workforce intermediaries, minority serving organizations, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to serve as champions for expanding and diversifying registered apprenticeship. Learn more at https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20220712
Taylor is recording secretary for IBEW and for the past 18 years has been the voice of minority workers as the co-founder and current president of IBEW’s Electrical Workers Minority Caucus. He has used that voice to help shape the Electrical Connection’s diversity goals, leveraging the modernization of infrastructure as a recruitment tool in underserved communities. The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
For the last six years,Taylor has served as a mentor for the Missouri Division of Youth Services, providing guidance for those the agency serves and encouraging young people to consider a career in the trades. Last year, the St. Louis Business Journal named Taylor one of its “Champions for Diversity and Inclusion.” The business publication noted that Taylor “works to chart a path for more minorities in the electrical industry. When Taylor entered the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Program in 1990 as an apprentice, only two women and two African Americans were selected yearly for apprentices. Today, approximately a third of apprentices at the training center are minorities and it has sustained that number for the past 10 years.”
Along with other ambassadors, Taylor will be fortifying registered apprenticeship programs in high-demand industries such as electrical and communications. This will include strengthening existing apprenticeship programs and hosting outreach and recruitment activities, training session and promotional meetings.
Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.