An apprenticeship is a tried and proven method for training and developing skilled labor. In recent times, employers are recognizing the added expense (both to employers and employees) of college tuition and the lack of on-the-job skills that accompany most college graduates. According to the Department of Labor, there are almost 26,000 registered and active apprenticeship programs in the US. In 2020 alone, over 221,000 people nationwide entered the apprenticeship system.
The focus of most publicity for apprenticeships is on the private sector. Larger corporations start many apprenticeships, but the benefits for apprenticeships in the public sector are numerous.
Public sector apprenticeship is a powerful tool for economic development. When local governments run apprenticeship programs for positions where hiring is difficult, they build capacity. At the same time, the apprentices earn while they learn, receive recognized qualifications, enjoy ongoing and personalized support, develop skills and improve their employability.
Here are some of the ways local governments would benefit from apprenticeship:
Create opportunities for economic mobility and racial equity
Apprenticeship provides access to careers for individuals who typically wouldn’t have such opportunities. Being an apprentice is about learning by doing, which means spending more time on-the-job than in classroom. This means that individuals that cannot afford to pay for a college degree can earn university credits through apprenticeship. Since apprentices earn an income as they learn, they are able to meet their basic needs.
Apprenticeships also make it possible for local governments to offer equal employment opportunities to minority groups. Through apprenticeship, the local government can promote the economic mobility of the less privileged.
Rebuild the public sector workforce
Due to COVID-19 related shutdowns, most local governments experienced a decline in revenue that necessitated massive job cuts. In 2020, about 1.4 million jobs were shed by the state and local government. Public sector apprenticeship is a great strategy for addressing unemployment issues in the community and boosting government workforce capacity. Apprentices can be trained for occupations that will be most in demand in the future.
Attracts and retains public servants
Recruitment and retention of workers is a crucial issue for local governments. With public workers retiring in greater numbers in recent years, maintaining a capable workforce is a major priority. Hiring managers in local governments are increasingly turning to apprenticeship as a way of recruiting young people into public service. Young people can learn on the job, make money, get mentored and earn recognized credentials. In return, the local government will cultivate a motivated labor force at a low cost with high retention.
Besides local governments, large corporations can also get quality employees through apprenticeships. Based in Arizona, Tech One IT creates technology apprenticeship programs for companies all over the US. Contact our TAP division for more details.