The IWSI America, a workforce development organization, has released its 2019 report: It's Time: Using Modern Apprenticeships to Reskill America. The report outlines how modern apprenticeships – defined as work-based learning programs designed to fill the specific talent needs of businesses and industries – can tighten the nation's widening skills gap and strengthen pipelines of needed skilled workers across a wide range of growth industries.
The report spotlights some of the nation's top companies including EasyKicks with NIKE, Mailchimp, Adobe and CVS Health, showing the effectiveness and versatility of modern apprenticeships across finance, healthcare, cybersecurity, engineering and advanced manufacturing industries.
"Modern apprenticeships are adaptable and applicable across so many industries and are needed now more than ever to strengthen businesses and economies. Employers experience a direct return on investment in apprenticeship programs, and apprentices benefit from a earn-while-you earn model that often positions them with a direct path to a job and free of student debt," says Nicholas Wyman, CEO and founder of IWSI America.
Other key findings include:
- The US is facing a fundamental challenge to its economic prosperity. Employers are coming up short with the skills they need to be fully competitive, productive and meet long–term goals.
- Today, the average starting wage for apprentices in the United States is above $60,000, and apprentices mostly complete their program debt-free with the potential to earn college credit, leading to an Associate or Bachelor's degree.
- Businesses are seeing tangible returns from their investments in modern apprenticeships through improved employee performance; greater workplace diversity; innovative product development; increased competitive advantage; and reduced turnover, training and recruitment costs.
- While employers are struggling to fill more than 7 million vacancies in the American job market with qualified candidates who have both relevant skills and workplace experience, 33% of college graduates are underemployed. The traditional approaches businesses use to cultivate talent, in either school or on the job, are out of sync with evolving employer needs. As a solution, people need to rethink their post-secondary and school-to-work options, and employers need to become more creative about their recruitment, hiring, and talent development strategies.
- Modern apprenticeship offers a broad array of career pathways, and unprecedented opportunities due to the skills gap; additionally around 91% of apprenticeship graduates find employment almost immediately after finishing their programs.
"With the tightest job market in history, it's time to embrace a contemporary approach to workforce development, that meets both the technical and interpersonal skills needs of employers and prepares people for lifelong learning and success," says Wyman.
My Thoughts: I've been saying for years that "not everybody should go to college." But for 20 years now, the higher-education industry, aided by plenty of help from the federal government and its offer of easy loans, along with propaganda about the "death of manufacturing" in America, made a generation of workers think their only alternative was to go to college to get ahead. I just hope that we're not too late to show those in high school (or in their early 20s) today that an apprenticeship in their chosen field of work is a great option.