RELEASE: States Are Leading the Way in Promoting Apprenticeship Programs, Says New CAP Issue Brief
Iowa, Connecticut, California, Minnesota, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and South Carolina profiled in new Center for American Progress brief that explores how states are taking the lead on developing apprenticeship opportunities for its workers.
Washington, D.C. — Seven states—Iowa, Connecticut, California, Minnesota, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and South Carolina—are leading the way in promoting apprenticeship programs. These efforts have not gone unnoticed at the federal level, as President Barack Obama recently dedicated $175 million to an American Apprenticeship grant initiative that will help 46 public-private partnerships create more opportunities for workers and employers to participate in apprenticeship. A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress, released today at an event with former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, explores the innovative policy solutions that these states have taken to develop the human capital of workers through apprenticeship.
As the CAP brief notes, 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 by their sponsoring employers 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 per year.
“Apprenticeship is an effective worker training strategy, but one that is tremendously underused, especially given the growing importance of a postsecondary education or training,” said Angela Hanks, Associate Director of Workforce Development Policy at CAP. “A handful of states, however, are employing new and creative strategies for increasing the use of apprenticeship—strategies that provide valuable lessons for policymakers at the local and state level across the United States and even at the federal level.”
The brief highlights four state strategies to grow apprenticeships: directing state funds to establish new and grow existing programs, as Iowa, Connecticut, and California have done; convening partnerships to develop high-quality, effective programs that address the workforce needs of the state, as Minnesota has done; building a talent pipeline through pre-apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship, as Kentucky and Wisconsin have done; and establishing a comprehensive plan to integrate apprenticeship as part of a state’s broader workforce strategy, as South Carolina has done.
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, the brief notes.
Click here to read “How States Are Expanding Apprenticeship” by Angela Hanks and Ethan Gurwitz.
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