Recasting American Apprenticeship

Publication date: 
February, 2016
The Aspen Institute
The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Apprenticeship has caught America’s attention. Businesses, practitioners, policy makers, and funders are reexamining apprenticeship as a means to restoring the country’s workforce. Students and workers are pausing to consider the quickest and most affordable route to well-paying jobs, weighing occupational credentials together with traditional academic degrees.

Over the next five years more than 34,000 new apprentices will be trained and hired by 46 recipients of the U.S. Department of Labor’s $175 million American Apprenticeship grants.
Traditionally associated with the construction trades, apprenticeships are evolving to include high-growth industries such as IT, advanced manufacturing and healthcare. And apprenticeship is increasingly viewed as part of a constellation of strategies that enables a firm’s employees to learn and advance while working. Indeed, apprenticeship has reemerged as an attractive means for advancing workers from skills development into middle class jobs.
Skills for America’s Future’s (SAF) believes engaged employers are essential to effective apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship can’t happen without the participation and support of businesses-sponsors of apprentices, who provide employment and a job, determine the learning content of the apprenticeship and provide a paycheck to apprentices during the course oftheir instruction.
With funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Barriers to Apprenticeship Expansion research project is aimed at understanding the obstacles to participation for those businesses with a demand for skilled workers yet uncertain about using apprenticeships to build their workforce. SAF also sought to understand the opportunities and limitations in using apprenticeship to advance economic opportunity for disadvantaged populations.
The Recasting American Apprenticeship report is a review of findings from our varied investigative efforts and a set of recommendations for businesses to realize apprenticeship as a workforce development strategy.
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