WIN Staff and Partners Approved As U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Ambassadors

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) recently announced the inaugural cohort of Apprenticeship Ambassadors including WIN Regional Apprenticeship Administrator Janene Erne, Manager of Experiential Learning and Employer Relations at Washtenaw Community College Kyrsten Rue, Apprenticeship Manager at GST Michigan Works! Wanda Bigelow, and CEO Burke Architectural Millwork Kelly Victor-Burke, along with nine other Michigan officials and organizations. The chosen ambassadors will share their experiences and collaborate with the USDOL to champion apprenticeship opportunities.

“Apprenticeship programs provide folks with the tools they need to bolster our local workforce, enhance skills training, and generate good-paying jobs,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters. “The key partnerships developed through this program will diversify and expand quality apprenticeships, create unique opportunities for our workforce and pave the way for economic development and future success in our region. I’m grateful to WIN and other Michigan organizations and leaders for stepping up to promote apprenticeships.”

For ten years, WIN and its Board of Directors made up of ten Community Colleges and seven Michigan Works! Agencies have worked together to create an apprenticeship ecosystem for career seekers and employers in Southeast Michigan. Because of this work, the WIN USDOL Registered Apprenticeship Intermediary services have been recognized as a Center for Apprenticeship Innovation Tools and Resources thanks to the Advance Michigan Center for Apprenticeship Innovation (AMCAI), and American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) grants. The work continues under the USDOL Closing the Skills Gap initiative.

“WIN and its partners have paved the way to train, upskill and reskill Southeast Michigan’s labor force,” expressed WIN Executive Director Michele Economou Ureste. “Together we have helped underserved populations receive marketable skills and sought-after jobs. Our partners are currently working on the Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy to upskill and reskill employees in the mobility and EV sectors.”

“I’ve been advocating for women and minorities in Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP) for over 25 years and being awarded this Ambassadorship is an honor,” said WIN Regional Apprenticeship Administrator Janene Erne. “This award validates what I have been promoting with employees and career seekers. Diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to be a major part of WIN’s efforts.”

The Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative is made up of industry, labor, education, equity, and workforce leaders partnering with the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship to promote Registered Apprenticeship Programs as a valuable workforce strategy in high-demand industries to develop and expand opportunities for historically underserved populations.

“Washtenaw Community College’s primary mission is to prepare students for high-demand jobs in the region’s workforce. We are thrilled to take a leadership role in supporting this new Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative to expand the talent pipeline and provide new opportunities for underrepresented students,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca.

Apprenticeship is an earn-while-you-learn career pathway of over 1,300 apprenticeable occupations recognized by the USDOL.

“Since 2017 our company (Burke Architectural Millwork) has experienced the benefits of a registered apprenticeship program (RAP). Thanks to the USDOL, WIN, and Schoolcraft College we were able to create and hire two apprentices in the new trade-Woodworking Manufacturing Specialists,” expressed CEO Burke Architectural Millwork Kelly Victor-Burke. “Our business has thrived because we don’t have an issue with recruiting and retaining our employees thanks to this apprenticeship. We are thrilled to continue promoting and supporting RAP through the State of Michigan and the United States of America!”

The USDOL Office of Apprenticeship will collaborate with Apprenticeship Ambassadors to promote Registered Apprenticeship as part of the department’s commemoration of the 85th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act on Aug. 16, 2022. The commemoration will continue through the remainder of the year including National Apprenticeship Week, Nov 14-20, 2022.

“GST Michigan Works! is proud to be a part of this initial cohort of Apprenticeship Ambassadors, said Jody Kerbyson, CEO of GST Michigan Works! “Registered Apprenticeship creates the unique opportunity to earn while you learn in the fastest growing industries in our state.”

“We’ve worked hard to increase awareness of the benefits of Registered Apprenticeship in our communities, particularly those who have been previously underrepresented,” expressed Wanda Bigelow, Apprenticeship Manager for GST Michigan Works! “We’ve been happy to see the interest in building apprenticeship programs by employers, as well.”

To learn more about the USDOL Apprenticeship Ambassadors or to view the full list of Apprenticeship Ambassadors visit

Apprenticeship tools and resources within the State of Michigan can be found at

The WIN Board of Directors is made up of Capital Area Michigan Works!, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, GST Michigan Works!, Henry Ford College, Jackson College, Lansing Community College, Macomb Community College, Macomb-St. Clair Michigan Works! Agency and Workforce Development Board, Michigan Works! Southeast, Monroe County Community College, Mott Community College, Oakland Community College, Oakland County Michigan Works! Agency, Schoolcraft College, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, Washtenaw Community College, and Wayne County Community College District. For more information about WIN visit


The Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) is a collaborative effort between ten community colleges and seven Michigan Works! Agencies, in partnership with numerous other organizations, to create a comprehensive and cohesive workforce development organization in Southeast Michigan providing employers with the talent they need for success. WIN covers a 19-county area, including Eaton, Genesee, Hillsdale, Huron, Ingham, Jackson, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Tuscola, Washtenaw, and Wayne. WIN was founded with the support of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan and celebrated 10 years of research, engagements, and solutions in August of 2021.