The US Department of Labor created registered apprenticeship nearly 100 years ago, and it has proven to be a successful approach to preparing workers for jobs while meeting the needs of business for a highly skilled workforce. Registered apprenticeship is an employer-driven, “learn while you earn” model that combines on-the-job training, provided by the employer that hires the apprentice, with job-related instruction in curricula tied to the attainment of national skills standards. With training and support from their employer, apprentices gain the skills they need to ensure success in their new careers.
The apprenticeship model is in the forefront of preparing American workers to compete in today’s economy, where middle-skill jobs are in demand. Middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States and in California. Apprenticeship is a flexible training strategy that can be customized to meet the needs of any business and to keep pace with advancing technologies, for these middle-skilled jobs.
While apprenticeship has traditionally been used in construction, manufacturing and trades such as plumbing and electrical, there is a growing trend toward adapting the apprenticeship model for training and development in other rapidly growing industries, such as health care, information technology, energy and transportation/logistics.
California has the largest apprenticeship system in the country, with a current total of 88,000 apprentices. Governor Newsom has charged the state to meet an aggressive goal of 500,000 apprentices by 2029. Many of the existing programs are administered in conjunction with California Community Colleges. The California Apprenticeship Initiative (CAI), administered by the Foundation for California Community Colleges, has created a list of priority and emerging industry sectors that can benefit from the apprenticeship model, including:
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Advanced Transportation
- Agriculture, Water & Environmental Technologies
- Energy, Construction & Utilities
- Global Trade & Logistics
- Information & Communication Technologies/Digital Media
- Life Sciences/Biotech
If you are like many businesses in today’s work environment, you are probably faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining workers for positions at the lower end of the pay scale. If you could offer a potential (or current) employee the opportunity to go to school while acquiring new skills through simultaneous on-the-job training, the value of your job offering increases beyond compensation. According to the Advance Michigan Center for Apprenticeship Innovation (see A New Tradition for Non-traditional Apprenticeships), the employee retention rate for companies that offer apprenticeships increases by 40% over those that do not offer apprenticeships.
Contract Education at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District currently serves as the local educational agency (LEA) for several apprenticeship programs and is focusing on expanding their programs to new industries beyond the traditional trades. If you are interested in exploring apprenticeship for your company, contact Christine Bennett by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (925) 249-9372.
For additional information on how to start an apprenticeship program, visit the California Department of Industrial Relations Start an Apprenticeship Program webpage.