As the ongoing skilled worker shortage continues to dominate the workforce industry news companies are continuing to look at positive ways to enact economic recovery for their businesses. With the growing need for employers to address their talent pipelines, many industry leaders have turned to apprenticeship programs as a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor discovered that since 2011 the number of new apprentices increased by 70 percent across the country. Apprenticeship programs have begun to gain significant traction due to the reported savings that employers experience with these kinds of programs as well as increased revenue and lower recruitment costs.
The increase in employer interest also stems from a desire to help advance an equitable economic recovery. While the pandemic has affected everyone, some communities have been harder hit than others. For example, people of color make up 50 percent of essential workers in food and agriculture, and more than half of workers in industrial, commercial, and residential facilities, as Kit Taintor, the Director of CDLE’s Office of New Americans, noted last year. Many who have historically been shut out of the labor market cannot afford to quit their jobs in order to pursue education and training opportunities. Apprenticeships, which offer participants the opportunity to learn in-demand skills while also earning a paycheck, provide a way to help level the playing field and ensure that our economic recovery includes people from all backgrounds.
As our societies workforce continues to evolve and transform adding new skills and workers to the talent pool will be essential in building a workforce of the future, Digital skills, as well as business management skills, will play a vital role in building up our economy as our country continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and apprenticeships provide a viable solution to this. A recent survey conducted by Prudential Financial found that around 48 percent of respondents are thinking about switching careers while 53 percent said they would be open to retrain for a career in a different field. Apprenticeship programs can create a pathway to make these things possible while also providing benefits for both the employer and the apprentice.