By Adrienne Anifant
With almost 12 percent of the millennial generation out of work and many more underemployed, as well as 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, Anne Tilney ’81 believes her organization can offer a remedy. Tilney is Founder and Board Chair of Apprenticeship Connections, an organization that connects individuals who are passionate to learn a discipline with talented mentors who are excited to impart their professional knowledge, skills, and experience to the next generation.
“I was inspired to create this organization because I believe human mentorships are key to fostering every successful individual,” Tilney said. “It was conceived to provide ‘a means to a beginning.’”
Among many things, Apprenticeship Connections provides individuals with the opportunities to learn a new skill that may lead to a career, training in valuable skills, the creation of rich relationships between mentors and apprentices, and job references.
After high school, Tilney completed a two-year Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts and then embarked on a career in the financial industry. While working in a field that was unfulfilling, she realized her passion for understanding how people learn. Having honed her interests, she was motivated to return to college to learn more about education, from the varying styles of teaching to the effects of different educational settings and experiences.
“When I knew what I wanted from an education, I was able to go after it and find people to encourage and nurture me to that end. The human aspect of being personally encouraged was critical,” Tilney said. Tilney believes the symbiotic relationship between mentors and apprentices is of mutual benefit.
“Apprenticeships provide a metaphorical arm of encouragement to an apprentice from a mentor. This allows the apprentice to see how he/she can contribute to the community giving him/her emotional maturity to make better decisions on their own behalf, whether he/she remains working in the discipline or chooses an alternative future direction,” Tilney said.
“Mentors learn what they know by teaching. They are rewarded by witnessing the flowering of a seedling.”