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The Benefits of Apprenticeship Programs

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In our 2019 BP Pulse which surveyed distributors and manufacturers in the greater Puget Sound area, we found that 50% of respondents’ cited lack of skilled workers as their biggest concern. This has clearly been an increasingly challenging issue to tackle, as our 2018 survey only had 32% of respondents claiming lack of skilled workers was their number one problem.

Apprenticeships may be the answer to companies that share this issue. If we look at one of the world leaders in manufacturing, Germany, their manufacturing economy is driven by apprenticeships. Nearly 60% of their youths are involved in an apprenticeship program. This is compared to only 5% of the youth in the US. In times of economic expansion, such as now, these opportunities increase, and now may be the time to start thinking of an apprenticeship program for your company.

Benefits to Employer

The start-up of an apprenticeship program may seem like a big undertaking, but studies have shown the long term benefits outweigh the costs. There are a few crucial benefits provided by apprenticeship programs that should specifically appeal to employers looking for skilled workers. Employers that have customized training that provides skilled workers with tangible on-the-job experience may find it strengthens their employee retention. The cost of finding and training new employees can be expensive for a company. Apprenticeship programs have been shown to lower employee turnover. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it was found that over 90% of workers that complete the program are still employed 9 months later. Additionally, some states offer tax credits for participating in these programs. Even if your state does not offer specific tax credits, government funding to incentivize apprenticeships have increased vastly over the last few administrations, with another $200 million being considered in the near future.

Benefits to Workers

The benefits to workers are more tangible. With hands-on training they can get real work experience while attending classes. Additionally, as opposed to attending school and looking for a career after graduation, workers involved in these programs already have experience in the field and have a running start on their career. Finally, in an era plagued by student debt, incentives offered by the state of Washington providing reduced tuition fees may be the factor most appealing to these individuals.

For distributors and manufacturers of many types, apprenticeship programs may be an opportunity that can provide the solution to their biggest problem; skilled workers. If you are considering starting an apprenticeship program, it is worth keeping updated on the talks of increased funding by the federal government aimed towards giving businesses more autonomy and incentives to provide apprenticeships.