Celebrating Youth Apprenticeship Week

Posted April 24, 2024
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Older woman of color helps younger woman navigate on a computer.

The first-ever Youth Appren­tice­ship Week (May 511, 2024) is a nation­wide cel­e­bra­tion that spot­lights the ben­e­fits of Reg­is­tered Appren­tice­ship pro­grams for youth and young adults.

Through youth appren­tice­ship pro­grams, stu­dents can com­plete high school, earn col­lege cre­den­tials and devel­op valu­able job skills through paid work experiences.

These pro­grams also help busi­ness­es and indus­tries; as appren­tices devel­op and employ skills, they become con­trib­u­tors to a company’s bot­tom line.

Too often, edu­ca­tion and employ­ment are com­pet­ing in the lives of young peo­ple,” says Alli­son Ger­ber, the Casey Foundation’s direc­tor of employ­ment, edu­ca­tion and train­ing. Youth appren­tice­ship pro­grams allow young adults to bal­ance school and work, mak­ing col­lege more afford­able for many.”

Read on for resources and data on the ben­e­fits of youth appren­tice­ship for both young peo­ple and employers.

Youth Appren­tice­ship Findings

Project on Workforce

A report — The Options Mul­ti­pli­er: Decod­ing the Career­Wise Youth Appren­tice Jour­ney — ana­lyzed results from Career­Wise Col­orado, a state-lev­el youth appren­tice­ship pro­gram. It found:

  • Six­ty-four per­cent of appren­tices in the pro­gram ulti­mate­ly tran­si­tioned to employ­ment, post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion or both.
  • Twen­ty-six per­cent of stu­dents who did not com­plete their appren­tice­ship still elect­ed to pur­sue two-year, four-year or tech­ni­cal degrees.

Urban Insti­tute

Two pub­li­ca­tions draw on find­ings from the Amer­i­can Appren­tice­ship Ini­tia­tive to demon­strate the com­pre­hen­sive ben­e­fits of appren­tice­ships for employers.

Do Employ­ers Earn Pos­i­tive Returns to Invest­ments in Appren­tice­ship?, a study on the return on invest­ment for employ­ers, found:

  • Two-thirds of employ­ers at least recouped their appren­tice­ship invest­ments.
  • The medi­an return on invest­ment is $144 for every $100 invest­ed.

Beyond Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty: Employ­er Gains from Appren­tice­ship exam­ines the range of indi­rect ben­e­fits of appren­tice pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. It notes:

  • Nine­ty-six per­cent of employ­ers report­ed improved com­pa­ny cul­ture because of apprenticeships.
  • More than 90% of employ­ers report­ed their appren­tice­ship pro­grams led to improve­ments in their tal­ent pipelines and increased employ­ee loy­al­ty.

Resources for Sup­port­ers of Youth Apprenticeship

The Nation­al Gov­er­nor Association’s Pol­i­cy Acad­e­my to Advance Youth Apprenticeship

Build­ing Sys­tems for Suc­cess: Key Con­sid­er­a­tions for Youth Appren­tice­ship Sys­tem Designoffers ques­tions to con­sid­er when devel­op­ing state-lev­el youth appren­tice­ship pro­grams. These ques­tions touch on top­ics such as:

  • active leg­is­la­tion relat­ed to apprenticeship;
  • sources of fund­ing;
  • short-term and long-term pro­gram goals;
  • ensur­ing the qual­i­ty and acces­si­bil­i­ty of pro­grams; and
  • incen­tives to ensure employ­er participation.

New Amer­i­ca

Two recent reports offer insights on employ­ers and orga­ni­za­tions that serve as inter­me­di­aries that match young work­ers to employers.

How to Attract Employ­ers to Youth Appren­tice­ship looks at how employ­ers can be moti­vat­ed to par­tic­i­pate in appren­tice­ship pro­grams. It focus­es on strate­gies that ini­tia­tives can use to under­score why youth appren­tices are impor­tant work­force assets. Ideas empha­sized include:

  • Appren­tices are an invest­ment that cre­ates val­ue. Unlike intern­ships, appren­tice­ships encour­age the cre­ation of long-term, skilled employees.
  • Cul­ti­vat­ing young tal­ent is vital. Appren­tice­ships allow employ­ers to add pro­duc­tive work­ers to their labor force and cul­ti­vate more inclu­sive workplaces.

Unrav­el­ing the Finance Mod­els of Work-Based Learn­ing Inter­me­di­aries looks at financ­ing mod­els for work-based learn­ing inter­me­di­aries and their fund­ing chal­lenges. It offers tai­lored rec­om­men­da­tions for sup­port­ers of work-based learn­ing intermediaries:

  • Lead­ers of work-based learn­ing inter­me­di­aries: Esti­mate the true costs of imple­ment­ing pro­gram­ming deter­mine fund-map­ping oppor­tu­ni­ties and invest in staff capac­i­ty.
  • State and fed­er­al pol­i­cy lead­ers: Reduce the bur­den of appli­ca­tion and report­ing require­ments faced by work-based learn­ing intermediaries.
  • Phil­an­thropic lead­ers: Make flex­i­ble fis­cal invest­ments in inter­me­di­aries as they build capac­i­ty and devel­op partnerships.

Dis­cov­er how the PAYA is bring­ing appren­tice­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties to young people

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