Years ago, an apprenticeship meant the start of a life-long career. Taken under a tradesperson’s wing, the apprentice learned by doing, became a licensed professional, and secured their future. A 2012 analysis estimated that apprentices earned $240,037 more in lifetime wages than non-apprentice workers did.
Nowadays, apprenticeship programs have fallen out of favor. Some industries have trouble recruiting due to a mismatch between their requirements and available education. Other industries don’t want to spend time training people who can easily switch jobs, taking away their ROI.
The answer? Renew our focus on apprenticeships.
This New Trump Plan Could Be the Answer to Millennial Job Woes – Fortune.com
Not Every Education Requires a Classroom
Speaking at Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin last month, President Trump called for private companies and universities to team up and offer more apprenticeships.
Currently, the U.S. only has 500,000 apprenticeships. The Trump administration wants to grow that number to 5 million apprenticeships within 5 years. To that effect, he signed an executive order removing restrictions on existing programs, and allocating additional funding.
By streamlining the process across 43 programs, Trump hopes to encourage more companies to incorporate apprenticeships. Removing restrictions may also inject some necessary enthusiasm into the private sector.
An Investment That Reaps Rewards
Currently, any company can offer apprenticeship programs outside of federal/state programs. The problem is that their apprentices can’t transfer credentials to another company.
By incorporating Labor Department guidelines, companies can still train apprentices, benefit from federal funding, and produce skilled workers whose credentials are truly life-long.
Investing in apprenticeships will benefit the U.S. both short- and long-term. According to a 2009 report from Nova Scotia, investing in apprenticeship programs paid them dividends. For every $1 Nova Scotia spent on apprenticeships, they generated $27 in economic growth.
Betting On America for the Win
Apprenticeships aren’t just for the trades. STEM-related industries offer apprenticeships, including medical technicians, robotics programmers, and computer technicians.
A workforce with the skills necessary to compete in the modern world lowers the U.S. unemployment rate, provides life-long earning potential, and rebuilds the American middle-class. The apprenticeship program can have a big impact on the long-term good of America.