Tag Archives: apprenticeship

Developing a Skilled Workforce Through Registered Apprenticeships

by Idaho Department of Labor Director Melinda S. Smyser

Not too long ago, St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood found itself in need of a medical lab scientist. After searching eight months for a qualified applicant, hospital officials worked with their local Idaho Department of Labor office to develop a registered apprenticeship program. Today the program is working so well St. Mary’s plans to set up a second apprenticeship for the same skill set.

As I meet with Idaho employers, they tell me they all have one thing in common with St. Mary’s Hospital. They need a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience.

Registered apprenticeships are a proven strategy for successfully building that pipeline and benefits both businesses and job seekers. Most employers see reduced turnover costs, greater employee retention, increased productivity and an average of $1.05 returned for every dollar they invest in their employees.

Apprentices benefit by on-the-job training and earn while they learn, reducing student debt. They see increased opportunities for promotion and higher wages over the course of their careers. Nationally, nine out of 10 find themselves gainfully employed at an average starting salary of $60,000 per year, and over the course of their careers, earn $300,000 more than their non-apprenticed peers.

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Apprenticeships Can Launch Careers

Employers and people who want rewarding careers are taking a second look at a historic training method that may solve some 21st century problems. Several states believe apprenticeship programs can help them compete globally, and European nations using apprenticeships have lower youth unemployment rates.

With soaring tuition keeping young people out of school and employers finding it hard to hire skilled workers, apprenticeships are gaining traction during this time of rapid technological change and intense global competition. This time-honored method of training gives today’s workforce entrants 21st century skills without incurring debt. They earn while they learn the things they actually use on the jobs, and they see theory put into practice.

Under the eye of mentors, apprentices learn on the job and in class. In many cases, the education in a highly skilled field is free. Apprentices work from two to six years – usually about four – to become journeymen certified as competent in all major aspects of their occupations. Continue reading