To close the gap between businesses’ need for qualified employees and the skills of unemployed job-seekers, substantial investments are needed in accessible, market-driven education and skills development programs. This brief outlines the need for employers, nonprofits and policy makers to align resources to create and strengthen programs — such as apprenticeships — to train low-skill adults for jobs that can help their families achieve financial stability.
In 2008, the average hourly wage for journeypersons who had completed apprenticeship was $23.94 — more than double the wage needed to lift a family of four out of poverty.
Lifetime Earnings Bump
Apprenticeship produces a positive lifetime earnings gain of $269,000 — two to three times the amount projected for community college students.
Lower Cost to Taxpayers
Federal government spending on displaced worker training through the Workforce Investment Act and related programs is 190 times the entire budget for the Office of Apprenticeship, even though enrollment numbers are roughly equal.
Statements & Quotations
Although the labor market is flush with out-of-work job seekers competing for few employment opportunities, businesses are still reporting difficulty finding qualified staff. This skills mismatch has persisted despite rising enrollment in postsecondary education and training programs.
While the federal government can play an important role in expanding and strengthening opportunities for the apprenticeship system, several states are taking proactive and innovative steps to (1) encourage employers to offer apprenticeships; (2) improve access to and success in apprenticeships, particularly for low-skilled and disadvantaged adults; and (3) enhance apprentices’ pathways to post secondary degrees and industry recognized credentials.
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