Expanding Apprenticeships in the United States

As concerns from U.S. employers about a skills gap and an aging workforce intensify, apprenticeship programs represent an obvious solution to current and anticipated worker shortages.

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idea_bulbWhen Americans think of apprenticeship, their thoughts more often turn to reality television than worker training. It’s no wonder: Despite a centuries-long history and federal support dating back to the 1930s, apprenticeship is vastly underutilized in the United States. As a result, many Americans are unfamiliar with apprenticeships and how they operate.

That may be beginning to change. The Obama administration has just awarded $175 million in American Apprenticeship Grants, which will be administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and used to establish and expand proven and promising apprenticeship models. These grants will not only support a number of new activities to expand apprenticeship; they will also serve as a model that can galvanize states, localities, and industry to test new approaches to promoting and utilizing apprenticeship as a workforce development strategy.

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