The Multifaceted Benefits of Apprenticeship Programs

Why Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs are a type of paid learning strategy which merges on-the-job-training with classroom directives.  The good news is that this method has demonstrated a positive track-record of successfully teaching workers highly sought job skills.

apprenticeship-programs-group-of-workers-at-laptopJobs, especially middle-wage jobs, are returning to the employment market after being drastically reduced during the Great Recession of last decade. However, the workforce for these jobs is simultaneously aging and retiring, leaving numerous new jobs without many trained replacements. A growing trend in the United States is to incorporate apprenticeship programs to help train new employees and potentially save a great deal of money for companies in the process.

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently indicated that the United States is anticipating a shortage of 5 million technically certified and credentialed workers by the year 2020, as reported by Sarah Ayres Steinberg and Ben Schwartz, authors of “The Bottom Line: Apprenticeships Are Good for Business”. They continued that approximately half of U.S. executives employed at large-sized companies expected to have a shortage of competent workers within the next one to two years.  Predictably, employee retention is of high importance to competing companies in this tight job market; which is exactly where the concept of apprenticeships enters the equation.

Benefits to Workers and Employers

For many who do not understand how an apprenticeship program works, the fear of excess cost can be a major hindrance. Many employers are concerned that after spending resources to train new employees, these same employees may leave to work elsewhere, resulting in an ultimate loss in time and money for the company.

According to Angela Hanks, Associate Director for Workforce Development Policy, and Ethan Gurwitz, Research Associate with the Center’s Economic Policy Team, a 2012 study indicated that employers have been known to retain approximately 91 percent of employees who successfully completed apprenticeship programs for the same company.  Additional studies have indicated that employees who have received apprenticeship-programs-group-of-employees_smilingtheir training through apprenticeship programs have been happier at their jobs; as properly trained employees tend to have lower levels of frustration and higher levels of engagement, resulting in workers remaining with their employers for longer.

The turnover rate following apprenticeship training is much less than traditional hiring, which many experts also believe is the result of employees feeling more loyal to an employer who would take the time and money to train them.  Moreover, individuals who participate in apprenticeships are known to command greater earning power over the course of their careers than non-apprentices.

Another benefit of apprenticeship programs is the ability to keep a steady supply of well-trained employees who have been taught according the specifications of your organization.  These programs allow for tailored training so that new employees will be learning procedures in such a way that meets the specific needs of the company.

Community Advantages

“Apprenticeship programs are also an effective government investment. In 2013, Washington State projected that for every $1 it spent on apprenticeship, taxpayers would see a $23 return on investment,” noted Hanks and Gurwitz.

According to one Canadian study, employers actually earned $1.47 back for every $1 invested in an apprenticeship program. In November 2016, a U.S. Department of Commerce study examined the investment return of apprenticeships at 13 firms. Of the firms studied, each discovered that the program offered a definitive value as well as particular benefits which more than warranted the costs, resources, and commitments made toward the trained apprentices.


Finally, Hanks and Gurwitz indicated that companies who invest resources in apprenticeship programs are dually investing in the middle skills that are so important to the current and upcoming job market.  The restoration of middle-wage jobs is a sign of increasing and rebounding employer demand; indicating that now is the best time to develop skills with moderate earning-power for greater stability, retention, and ultimate earning potential for the long haul.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

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