How States Are Expanding Apprenticeship

Source: Angela Hanks and Ethan Gurwitz, Center for American Progress, February 9, 2016

From the summary:
….Apprenticeship is a proven worker training strategy that combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction, but is notably underused in the United States. For workers, apprenticeship means a real job that leads to a credential that is valued in the labor market. Apprentices are paid for their time spent on the job and in the classroom, accumulate little to no student debt, and are generally hired into permanent positions once they have successfully completed their programs. Apprenticeship completers also make middle-class wages; according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which administers the Registered Apprenticeship system, the average wage for an individual who has completed an apprenticeship is $50,000. Over a lifetime, this can add up to approximately $300,000 more in wages and benefits compared to their peers. For employers, apprenticeship is an effective and cost-efficient strategy to build their current and future workforce. In addition to lower recruitment and relocation costs, it can enable employers to develop strong talent pipelines. States, often regarded as so-called laboratories of democracy for their ability to experiment with innovative policies, have been leading the way in developing strategies to prepare more workers for employment through apprenticeship. This brief profiles states that have found innovative policy solutions to develop the human capital of workers through apprenticeship. The strategies they have deployed occur at all different levels of leadership, and with different levels of financial investment.

Specifically, this brief highlights four state strategies to grow apprenticeships:
– Directing state funds to establish new and grow existing programs
– Convening partnerships to develop high-quality, effective programs that address the workforce needs of the state
– Building a talent pipeline through pre-apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship
– Establishing a comprehensive plan to integrate apprenticeship as part of a state’s broader workforce strategy

These efforts can serve as a roadmap for other states seeking to address increasing employer demand for skilled workers and worker demand for access to good jobs, as well as for the federal government, as the Obama administration and Congress continue to consider what other policy changes are needed to establish a more comprehensive system of apprenticeship in the United States…..