Although common in other countries, apprenticeships are not widely known in the U.S. Despite their lack of widespread use, they provide a cost effective training model that leads to middle-class jobs. Apprenticeships provide cost advantages to employers utilizing these programs as a source for developing skilled talent. Many other methods of attaining or developing a skilled workforce are more expensive or less effective.
Apprenticeship programs are widespread in Europe. For policy purposes, the United Kingdom provides a particularly good example because of similarities with the U.S. and the fact that apprenticeships have only recently regained popularity. Additionally, some states (e.g., Washington, South Carolina, Indiana) have taken steps to increase the number of apprenticeships offered.
A whitepaper from the Center for American Progress provides a case for expanding apprenticeships in the U.S. and addresses the following:
- Advantages to employers, participants, and the economy in using apprenticeships in a variety of sectors.
- Barriers to overcome in order to expand apprenticeships on a national level.
- Approaches for combining apprenticeships with community and technical college training/credentialing programs.
- State and federal policies for encouraging and/or subsidizing apprenticeships.