CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Idea of the Day: How to Expand U.S. Apprenticeships

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

idea light bulb

Apprenticeships are not a familiar concept to many Americans, but expanding the use of this highly effective training model can help our nation meet the demand for skilled workers, create pathways to well-paying careers for unemployed young workers, and give American businesses a competitive edge in the global marketplace. Apprenticeships have been a tried and true method of educating and training workers since the Middle Ages, and they continue to enhance productivity and boost workers’ earnings in many countries around the world today. At a time when too many American workers lack the education and training to secure well-paying, middle-class jobs, and American businesses increasingly rely on high-skill workers to innovate and expand, we believe that apprenticeships hold great promise for addressing our nation’s economic challenges. In this report, we will discuss America’s insufficient workforce training system, demonstrate that apprenticeships are a time-tested solution to our workforce training challenges, and propose a set of policies to expand apprenticeships while addressing the reasons they have not yet been widely adopted in the United States.

An apprenticeship is a job in which an individual is paid to learn a set of skills through on-the-job training. In the United States, a formal system of “registered apprenticeships” was created in 1937 by the National Apprenticeship Act and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor and the individual states. Under the system, a sponsor of an apprenticeship registers its program and its apprentices with the federal government or a delegated state agency. For each “apprenticeable” occupation, a set of requirements details the duration and/or competency standards necessary for completion. When an apprentice completes these requirements, the government issues a certificate of completion that then serves as a nationally recognized portable credential.

For more on this topic, please see:

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here