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Apprenticeships in the 21st Century

Moving Forward into the 21st Century

Apprenticeship has a long, outstanding history that is still relevant and growing today. In the 21st century, at a time when the job marketplace is in a a state of uncertainty, apprenticeship is having a resurgence, a renaissance, especially among young job seekers who are trying to find that first job or are seeking skills that will enable them to find good paying jobs without having to get a two- or four-year degree.

Over the last five years, our national apprenticeship system has drawn steady and growing attention from policymakers across the country and at all levels of government. In 2013, President Obama vowed to double the number of apprentices in 5 years.

Apprenticeship's current growth, which traditionally has associated with the labor unions and rock solid areas that have included traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, but it is also instrumental in the training and development of emerging industries such as biotechnology, health care, energy, and homeland security.

And, more important, it is paid on the job training. Or, as pointed out in New America, "Apprenticeship offers an affordable and efficient way for Americans to get into good jobs and for businesses to build talent. It is a way that young people and job seekers can get around the high cost of postsecondary education - and the debt that too often comes with it - earning money while they gain valuable skills, work experience, and credentials."

Apprenticeship is getting strong support from government and industry. State programs and the federal government's Registered Apprenticeship "Earn and Learn" training model provides the opportunity for workers seeking high-skilled, high- paying jobs. It is important to stress that Community Colleges are playing a vital role in providing training and certificate programs, and working with government and business to train students to fill jobs now and in the future.

For employers seeking to build a qualified workforce. In this regard, the Registered Apprenticeship system effectively meets the needs of both employers and workers. Congress is planning to appropriate an additional $95 million to support the continued expansion of apprenticeship in states and local communities.

Employers benefit from trained, skill employees, that in effect are custom trained. New America reports that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff upped the ante, calling for the creation of 5 million apprenticeships in the next 5 years.

In "Apprenticeship Forward: Building a New American Tradition," New America reported that the momentum continues as hundreds of people from around the country gathered in Washington, DC for Apprenticeship Forward, a two-day conference this summer organized by New America and National Skills Coalition that seeks to chart a course forward for the national apprenticeship system.

Apprenticeship has a long and strong history in America and Europe, especially in Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain. At a time when policy makers and job programs are looking for ways of training job seekers efficiently and cost effectively, especially young job seekers who need job skills that will enable them to find good paying jobs, it is being viewed, reviewed and supported as a viable win-win strategic opportunity.

References: "Apprenticeship Forward: Building a New American Tradition," New America, May 4, 2017 (https://www.newamerica.org/)
The Department of Labor (DOL), Registered Apprenticeships (https://www.doleta.gov/OA/apprenticeship.cfm)