This year, the Department of Labor recognized musicians as a possible apprentice occupation for the first time in American history. One particular woman may have spearheaded the decision. Anita J. Dixon, a self-proclaimed “Cultural Heritage Strategist,” last year obtained for her hometown of Kansas City, Mo. the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) City of Music designation, making it the only such designation for music in America.

As the principal for Sage Consultants, Dixon recognized that the African American culture was a focus globally because of the music derived from such artistic constructs as jazz, blues and R&B. Little had been done, however, to preserve that heritage within urban communities and public education.

“There was a time when our children had DAILY music classes and were taught by famous names in the industry. For the last 30 years, music education at the K-12 level has dwindled to nothing. Something had to be put in its place to preserve our contributions to genres that are now a part of international studies,” Dixon said.

After three years of lobbying the Department of Labor, the American Music Apprenticeship Program (AMAP) is now a part of the Registered Apprenticeship system. This makes the American Music Apprenticeship Program not just an educational or cultural enrichment program, but it expands the study of music as a “job readiness” and “job creation” strategy.

“The American Music Apprenticeship Program (AMAP) is a ‘portable’ program that I aim to bring to schools, urban/rural communities to patch that ever-growing gap in the ability for middle class and poor children to become trained in their passion for music that has roots in American history,” Dixon added.

Community members may be able to incorporate an AMAP strategy in local schools, churches or community outlets in general by contacting Dixon at (816) 12-0864 or by visiting to learn more about her expertise in cultural heritage strategies for economic development.