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Pictured from left to right: Jeffery Huffcut, Southern Tier Sheet Metal Contractors Association Manager; Ernest Hartman, Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International Representative; William Macchione, North Atlantic States Carpenters; Esta Bigler, Cornel ILR Labor and Employment Law Program Director, NYS DOL Apprenticeship Council Chairperson; Roberta Reardon, NYS Department of Labor Commissioner; Chris Pinheiro, NYS DOL Apprenticeship and Infrastructure Director

Cornell ILR Hosts NYS Apprenticeship & Training Council

"Apprenticeship isn't an alternative to higher education…Apprenticeship is higher education!" said Roberta Reardon, commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor. 

Reardon spoke at the New York State Apprenticeship and Training Council's final meeting of 2023 at Cornell ILR's NYC conference center on Dec. 12. 

The meeting marked the first time the council had met at Cornell ILR and reignited 'an old tradition' of convening in New York City in December. 

"Of our 17,000+ apprentices, almost 9,000 are located in the city," said Chris Pinheiro, director of Apprenticeships and Infrastructure. "That is one of the major reasons that we pushed to have this meeting back in New York City because this is where the majority of our apprentices are." 

Over 100 labor and apprenticeship professionals attended the meeting in person and virtually. "I'm very excited about the fact that I can welcome my colleagues and all of you from the community here to ILR in New York City," said Esta Bigler '70, chair of the NYS Apprenticeship and Training Council and director of ILR's Labor and Employment Law Program. 

"ILR shares our mission of ensuring that workers have a brighter future," said Reardon. "It's nice to be back."

As of Sep. 30, 2023, the council reported there were 608 sponsors, 902 programs, 17,631 active apprentices and 1,676 Certificates of Completion issued.

"It's good to see passionate people overseeing what we do for apprenticeship," said audience member Bryan Brady II, director of training at Iron Workers Locals 40 and 361. "It changes people's lives."