Forging Opportunity with an Apprenticeship
For decades, apprenticeship programs have paved the way for countless job opportunities in the United States. Aside from traditional industries like construction and manufacturing, this proven learn-while-you-earn system has expanded to energy conservation, information technology, and other in-demand sectors—creating training opportunities for over 505,000 apprentices in 2016 alone. The “modern renaissance of apprenticeships in America” is a welcome development for workers who need to jumpstart a career and employers who want to develop a skilled workforce. How does an apprenticeship program work? Apprentices are hired by the employer. An apprenticeship program combines theoretical and on-the-job training, depending on the needs of the business and the skills of the apprentice. According to the Department of Labor, there are three strategies to consider:
- Time-based – Apprentices must complete a specific number of on-the-job and related training hours.
- Competency-based – While they are not required to complete a specific number of training hours, apprentices must demonstrate competency and proficiency through a series of tests.
- Hybrid approach – To complete the program, apprentices must demonstrate competencies and complete a specified training period.
- To build talent – Employers need highly-skilled employees to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape. Apprenticeships can be tailored and integrated into the existing training or recruitment system in order to bridge the skills gap.
- To reduce turnover – Statistics show that 91 percent of apprentices who have completed an apprenticeship program are still employed even after nine months.
- To improve productivity – Learning from a seasoned mentor boosts knowledge transfer. A systematic approach to training also helps to ensure that apprentices have the necessary skills to be productive on the job.
- To have a more diverse workforce – Apprenticeship programs attract a more diverse pool of talent—giving employers an edge over competitors.
- To strengthen skills – Aside from theoretical principles, apprentices receive hands-on training that is designed to improve their skills.
- To increase wages – Apprentices receive a paycheck starting from their first day. The amount increases as the training advances. On average, apprentices earn a starting wage of $60,000 each year.
- To earn a national credential – Graduates of an apprenticeship program may earn credentials that are equivalent to a two-year or four-year degree. Upon successful completion of a career training program, apprentices earn certified credentials that are nationally accepted by employers and industries.