Opinion

Registered Apprenticeship Myths Busted

As apprenticeships continue to develop and adapt to the ever-changing needs of our current workforce many programs have gone on to expand to new industries

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Sovann Boyd

Sovann Boyd

Digital Marketing Specialist @ ApprentiScope

Registered Apprenticeships Are Too Costly and Time-Consuming For Employers

Under the current Department of Labor rules and regulations, there is no upfront cost to create and set up a Registered Apprenticeship program. One key factor of apprenticeship programs is that their apprentices are trained on the job meaning that their starting pay is around 40%-50% lower than a traditional new hire. As the current worker shortage is expected to reach around 5 million within the next year, Apprenticeships provide employers with a new way to recruit and enlist fresh talent for their businesses. 

Though the process of creating the initial program may take some time, once registered with the US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship (OA) or State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA), it is quite simple to add to or change the program. A Registered Apprenticeship program remains 100% business-driven and can be considered a living document that may be amended at any time. 



Apprenticeship graphic

 

Image Provided by JEVS Human Services 

 

For many apprenticeships, states will require employers to track numerous data points concerning their apprentices. Some of these include On-the-Job Training (OJT) hours, Related Technical Instruction (RTI) hours, Wage Progressions, and State/Federal compliance information. In past years this kind of in-depth management was seen as a huge burden for employers, but this is no longer the case with the introduction of web-based solutions like ApprentiScope that make tracking and compliance a breeze.  

 

My Company Will Spend Money On Apprentices Just For Them To Leave 

When it comes to starting an apprenticeship program many people who are on the edge are often hesitant due to the possibility of them paying for an apprentice to complete their program and then have them walk out on their company for another opportunity. In reality, most apprentices stay with their initial employer throughout their apprenticeship and even after graduation. Apprenticeships help participants develop a sense of loyalty towards their employer because of the investment they have made in them. 

 

“Research shows that 70 to 80% of people that start apprenticeship programs finish, and of those that complete the program, 90% are with the same company five years later,” says Chris. He notes that those are strong employee retention numbers.

Chris Harrington, Director of Operations at Elastic Therapy, Inc

 

For any apprenticeship program recruitment and retention plays a significant role in the program's success. A great example of someone who has competitive benefits is a program that’s offered at Click Bond for tool workers. Click Bond helps them with the costs of a starter toolset which is about a $1,200 expense. If they stay with the company for two years they can keep the tools and every six months they get a tool allowance. On top of that, they offer tuition reimbursement for classroom training for apprenticeships as well as general educational advancement. These kinds of investments in their apprentices help to foster loyalty and improve productivity across the board. 




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Image provided by NW PASmart Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador Network

 

The Department of Labor Will Have Too Much Influence and Control Over My Program

This ideology at its core is completely wrong as Registered Apprenticeships are 100% business-driven. The Department of Labor wants your program to be as successful as it possibly can, this means that you will have full control over what aspects of on-the-job training will be present as well as the classes or related technical instruction they will need to complete alongside their training. You will also be able to build out a complete plan that will outline apprentices' pay structure as well as qualifications and graduation requirements. 

One of the most attractive features of an apprenticeship is its flexibility. Apprenticeships' main purpose is to provide a source of structure to on-the-job training and learning methods while also providing a business with a viable way to source skilled workers from within their own company. 

 

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The Department of Labor’s oversight serves as more of an accountability partner in the process of getting apprentices certified than anything else. What they ultimately want is to make sure that employers are creating programs and developing apprentices in the way they have set through their own apprenticeship standards and also that those apprentices are actually meeting those standards successfully. The Department’s only true role is to keep programs and their employers accountable to apprentices who are there to develop and become certified. Ultimately, the DOL only wants apprenticeships to grow and have no interest in scaring away sponsors with stringent standards that prevent helping people grow professionally. 

 

Registered Apprenticeships Are Only for Union Affiliated Occupations 

As apprenticeships continue to develop and adapt to the ever-changing needs of our current workforce many programs have gone on to expand to occupations and industries outside the traditional realm one might associate apprenticeships with. Registered apprenticeships are not just for union shops anymore in fact, currently, there are more non-union companies that have and run registered apprenticeships than companies associated with unions. Through apprenticeship programs for years have been used as an effective recruitment practice in the building and construction trades, the model has recently been embraced by industries such as advanced manufacturing, accounting, healthcare, IT, and hospitality. 



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Image provided by GETTY

Last month United States Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced the debut of a new grant program called theApprenticeship Building America Program. The purpose of this program is to strengthen, modernize, expand and diversify the nation's Registered Apprenticeship Programs providing more ways for workers to earn a livable wage while also creating more and more pathways into the country's middle class. This new campaign will make around $113 million in grant money available to these programs, including $50 million of those funds going towards the support of equity partnerships and pre-apprenticeship programs.

In addition to the growing government interest and funding, the industry has also seen significant advocacy from private companies looking for a new way to expand and upskill their workforce. London-based tech startup Multiverse which specializes in creating apprenticeship opportunities worldwide reported in January raising $44 million in funding to bring apprenticeships in data science, software engineering, digital marketing, and project management to the United States. 

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