Ben Margot, Associated Press
FILE - Wells Fargo announced the launch of its ApprenticeshipUSA program for veterans to develop a workforce with sought-after skills necessary to succeed in high-demand civilian careers.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new employment program in Utah targets military veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce.

Wells Fargo & Co. Thursday announced the launch of its ApprenticeshipUSA program for veterans. Established through the U.S. Labor Department, the nationwide program offers companies the tools to develop a workforce with sought-after skills and provides veterans an opportunity to earn a salary while learning additional skills necessary to succeed in high-demand civilian careers, explained Lance Lavergne, senior vice president of enterprise talent acquisition and strategy for Wells Fargo.

"Veterans often shy away from financial services roles because they don't think they have the skills or the training or the experience to qualify for those opportunities," he said. "ApprenticeshipUSA is a broad program that allows an individual to come into a situation that has a built-in learning and training component so that even if you don't have the skills and experience at the beginning, you'll develop all that (through the program) in order to become a full-time, gainfully employed person in the particular role (within Wells Fargo)."

The company has established a plan to hire 20,000 veterans to its national team by 2020, he noted. In addition to ApprenticeshipUSA, Wells Fargo offers other veteran career transition initiatives, including the Veteran Employment Transition Internship Program, American Corporate Partners mentorships, scholarships and emergency grants through Scholarship America.

“Our commitment to hiring veterans remains a top priority for Wells Fargo,” said Carly Sanchez, an executive vice president. “The ApprenticeshipUSA program is an excellent resource for us to attract and retain eligible veterans who have strong leadership competencies and other skills, but may not have strong financial industry knowledge.”

Lavergne explained that eligible veterans can use their GI Bill education benefits to receive a tax-free monthly payment. The Post-9/11 GI Bill payment is the equivalent of the monthly housing allowance of an enlisted rank five — or E-5 — with dependents, with amounts varying by employer location. The funds are paid by the government in addition to the wages earned as an apprentice, and veterans also receive a payment for every month of their apprenticeship, he noted. Following six months of a veteran’s apprenticeship, the payment is gradually reduced and offset by progressive wage increases, he said.

"The whole goal of this program is to allow servicemen and women who are interested in financial services careers the opportunity to get the skills and training to be viable and effective team members," Lavergne said. "We can take people from a wide variety of backgrounds. It enables us to hone in on the qualitative and leadership skills that service members develop while they're in the military."

The company will target candidates with pertinent attributes for its various career paths and provide the training necessary to help them become efficacious, he said.

"We identify people who are very team oriented, who can influence without authority (and) who can take initiative," Lavergne said. "We can recruit for those attributes, put people in this program and teach them the technical skills they need to be successful."

The ApprenticeshipUSA Program will be piloted in the company’s Community Bank, Consumer Lending, and Payments, Virtual Solutions and Innovation divisions. Interested veterans can visit for more information about the pilot program and where to apply.