The apprenticeship model in the United States is ripe for reinvention, expanding beyond the traditional trade fields and into other high-demand careers, which will lead to economic advancement for more Americans, according to a new report out today from Multiverse and Burning Glass Institute.
An apprenticeship is a job which provides a paid worker with an on-the-job learning opportunity at no cost to the apprentice. The number of active registered apprenticeships has grown by 106% in the last decade, totaling more than 600,000 this year, according the U.S. Department of Labor.
The report – Untapped Potential: How new apprenticeship approaches will increase access to
economic opportunity – makes the case that workers, employers, and the economy would benefit enormously by the development of learn-and-earn jobs across a broad spectrum of industries.
Expanding on-the-job training opportunities would also benefit workers and job seekers of all ages at all points in their careers, argues the report.
“We consider how a next generation apprenticeship structure in the U.S. could reduce critical talent shortages, address the needs of the majority of U..S workers who are unable to access higher-wage work or underemployed in their job, and advance equity and opportunity.
“By mapping apprenticeship-ready occupations in the U.S., this report identifies the pathways that workers can follow to move from various occupations across industries – which could result in $28.5 billion in higher earnings each year – creating pathways to higher-wage roles for workers across America.”
The report adds that scaling up could create another 830,000 apprenticeships annually.
What Are These ‘Apprentice-Ready’ Opportunities?
Untapped Potential research identifies 149 target occupations ready for brand-new or expanded apprenticeships, 20 of which already boast “substantial and growing numbers of apprenticeship opportunities.”
To qualify, these target occupations must:
- consistently pay more than $20 per hour.
- be in-demand, with the number of jobs in the occupation steadily growing.
- be open to a person without a bachelor’s degree who can learn the needed skills through apprenticeship and by bringing to bear their existing skills.
- require no more than five years of related experience.
- make good use of the on-the-job training.
Careers meeting that criteria include medical and health services manager, project manager, computer systems analyst, software developer, computer systems engineer, architect, human resources specialist, and more.
Additionally, Untapped Potential identifies the types of workers who could benefit by an expansion of the types of jobs using a learn-and-earn model.
For example, the report says as many as 68 million workers who are not college graduates are in midcareer roles with “limited progression pathways, and are in need of opportunities to upskill.” Another 12.8 million workers with bachelor’s degrees are underemployed, “stuck in jobs that offer limited future prospects.”
How Do We Get There From Here?
The report concludes a joint effort involving employers, business coalitions, educational institutions, advocates, and policymakers is needed to scale up apprenticeships in the United States.
You can read the recommendations from Multiverse, which helps place workers in apprenticeships with major global companies, and labor market research firm Burning Glass Institute on how each stakeholder can be a part of the apprenticeship expansion here: Untapped Potential.