SHRM Foundation Develops HR Apprenticeship Program - Delivering a Talent Development Solution for HR


As employers rebuild, retool, redesign and reimagine their operations for the COVID-19-impacted world, the challenge of finding talent with the right skills to meet the ever-changing demands in the workplace has taken on even more urgency. Now more than ever, HR professionals have a significant role to play in leading their organizations through some of the toughest workplace challenges they’ve ever faced. HR needs to build organizational capacity to take on the new normal and deliver their organization’s goods or services, while also rethinking the systems and structures that will solidify and reinforce a better, more inclusive workplace.

A talent development strategy exists to help create the 21st century HR talent that is integral to implementing the changes required by this new normal. I’m pleased to share that the SHRM Foundation—thanks to a generous grant from the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap program—is developing the SHRM HR Registered Apprenticeship (HR RAP) program for HR. The SHRM HR RAP will allow employers to develop and prepare the HR talent they need using a learn-and-earn model. This strategy is particularly valuable now, when employers need strategies to reskill those whose livelihoods have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, many displaced workers find themselves without the resources to return to school to get in-demand skills, and there may not be enough HR professionals to go around. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics O*NET, demand for HR professionals is strong; the Human Resource Manager is listed as a “bright look” occupation—that is, one that is projected to grow faster than average with employment increases of 7 percent or more over the period 2018-2028. 

By combining educational programming aligned to the existing SHRM Competency Model with work-based learning, the SHRM HR RAP allows an apprentice to earn a nationally recognized SHRM-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential and become a Human Resource Specialist upon completion of the program—the first step to a dynamic career pathway with significant earning potential. It provides a way for an employer to invest in an employee who will be trained to the employer’s specifications and who will deliver a positive return on investment through higher productivity.

The program is designed to accelerate diversity initiatives in that it expands opportunities for reskilling displaced workers, upskilling incumbent workers and developing new entrants to the workforce, particularly those from untapped talent pools such as people with criminal convictions, older workers, individuals with disabilities, and veterans with or without four-year degrees.

The SHRM Foundation also recognizes the potential “multiplier effect” that establishing the SHRM HR RAP can have on expanding apprenticeships. Human resource professionals are on the front lines of talent development in their organization and have tremendous influence over how a company will develop and recruit its workforce. By introducing the apprenticeship model into the field, a new generation of HR professionals will have the benefit of experiencing apprenticeship firsthand, either as an apprentice or as a mentor, creating champions of the model in a variety of industries and sectors.

We are in the process of completing the DOL application to register the program and are anxious to get HR leaders’ feedback on our program to ensure that the content matches employers’ needs. We’d like to have several employers ready to take on apprentices in early 2021.

If you are interested in helping us design the program, want to take on one of the first apprentices or would like additional information on how the program can help you with your talent needs, go to

We are confident that apprenticeships can be used to mobilize the power of HR to provide an innovative solution to workplace inclusion challenges and inspire and empower the next generation of HR leaders.




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