Think that apprenticeships can’t work in innovative industries? Think again. Innovative programs are proving that modern apprenticeships work in industries such as cybersecurity, finance, software development, and healthcare, just to name a few. Private sector employers are partnering with each other, educators, and workforce development professionals to implement programs that meet their unique talent challenges. Modern apprenticeships are helping these companies access an immediate pool of workers and build a pipeline of skilled talent for the future.
The shortage of skilled workers in the United States is a crisis that will only increase unless we immediately implement innovative, agile, short- and long-term solutions. We currently have almost 6 million jobs that cannot be filled due to a growing skills gap in our nation’s workforce, and U.S. businesses will need to fill 18.7 million job openings by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As these labor shortages demonstrate, it’s unlikely that current training models are suited to preparing workers for today’s jobs, let alone tomorrow’s “new collar” jobs. Many Americans struggle to find jobs that pay a livable wage, while employers struggle to find workers with the right skills to fill job openings. America’s education systems and workforce development programs need to modernize to keep up with workforce demands.
Apprenticeships – structured, work-based training programs that combine paid, on-the-job training with related instruction and industry-recognized credentials – have shown to be a promising solution for addressing the workforce challenges of both workers and employers. Numerous research studies have found that work-based training is beneficial for both and that high-quality, firm-specific training that meets employees’ expectations can reduce worker turnover and its associated costs and improve worker productivity. In addition, there is evidence that employers that devote resources to education and training for their employees realize positive returns for their shareholders. Studies estimated that career earnings for Registered Apprenticeship participants who completed their apprenticeship would average $240,000 more than the earnings of similar non-participants.
Across the world companies are struggling to find skilled talent. We must rethink the way we approach education, especially in innovative industries where technology rapidly outpaces traditional education and training. Interest in apprenticeship as a successful talent development solution for businesses and workers has grown over the last decade, and while this interest has resulted in an increase in apprenticeships, the opportunity for exponential growth in the United States still exists. Modern apprenticeship models, based on proven practices, help Americans obtain relevant skills and high-paying jobs. Apprenticeships have been proven to work in a breadth of industries and in the most competitive economies in the world. Apprenticeship helps businesses in every industry sector recruit, train, and retain the skilled talent they need to thrive. As the competition for talent increases, industry-led modern apprenticeship models give business more reasons than ever to look to apprenticeship as a talent development solution. Private and public sector leaders are joining forces to modernize this proven practice and innovate to develop new, modern apprenticeship models in America.
Partners across the country are rethinking the approach to talent development, especially in innovative industries where traditional education and training cannot keep up with the rapid advance of technology. It is time to innovate, and no one is better situated to do that than the industry innovators themselves. It is time to rethink a proven model for industry-led talent development – modern models of apprenticeship are powered by industry and will be the solution to erasing the skills gap and diversifying the workforce. Join us and share your apprenticeship innovations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maher & Maher, an IMPAQ Company, is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is U.S. Department of Labor’s national technical assistance provider supporting the Employment and Training Administration’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a number of other priority initiatives of the administration that advance and promote the public workforce system. Maher is also currently involved in a number of sector strategy, regional planning, organizational strategic planning and training initiatives in multiple state and regional areas. For more information about our services, visit our website or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.
 Helper, S., Noonan, R., Nicholson, J. R., & Langdon, D. (2016, November). The benefits and costs of apprenticeship: A business perspective. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved from https://www.commerce.gov/sites/commerce.gov/files/migrated/reports/the-benefits-and-costs-of-apprenticeships-a-business-perspective.pdf
Lerman, R. I. (2016). Reinvigorate apprenticeships in America to expand good jobs and reduce inequality. Challenge, 59(5), 372–389. https://doi.org/10.1080/05775132.2016.1226094
Lerman, R. (1996). Building hope, skills and careers: Making a US youth apprenticeship system. Social Policies for Children, 136–172.
Reed, D., Liu, A. Y., Kleinman, R., Mastri, A., Reed, D., Sattar, S., & Ziegler, J. (2012, July 25). An effectiveness assessment and cost-benefit analysis of Registered Apprenticeships in 10 states. Oakland, CA: Mathematica Policy Research.
 U.S. Departments of Labor, Commerce, Education, and Health and Human Services. (2014, July 22). What works in job training: A synthesis of the evidence. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/asp/evaluation/jdt/jdt.pdf
 Reed, D., Liu, A. Y., Kleinman, R., Mastri, A., Reed, D., Sattar, S., & Ziegler, J. (2012). An effectiveness assessment and cost-benefit analysis of Registered Apprenticeship in 10 states [ETAOP 2012-10]. Report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Oakland, CA: Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved from https://wdr.doleta.gov/research/FullText_Documents/ETAOP_2012_10.pdf