It's National Apprenticeship Week!
While I'm a huge proponent of higher education, I am acutely aware that it is not the only path to a rewarding career. For some people, a college degree is not what they want or need; it may not be a good fit for their learning style or their professional goals. Many industries recognize this fact, and yet they need talented employees with focus, dedication and skills above what a typical high school graduate may possess. So if a jobseeker is looking for professional skills beyond a high school diploma but doesn't necessarily want a college degree, what other option is there? Apprenticeships!
According to a recent report by the US Department of Commerce, apprentices enter into a structured training program of classroom and paid on-the-job training under the guidance of a mentor. As their skills increase, so do their wages. Upon completion of the program, apprentices earn an industry-recognized credential and usually are hired into a job that marks the start of a career. The report cites three metrics that are used to measure the benefits of the apprenticeship model, often referred to as “earn and learn:”
- Production: Companies gain the value of output by apprentices and later by apprentice graduates, plus a reduction in errors.
- Workforce: Companies experience reduced turnover and improved recruitment, gain a pipeline of skilled employees, and develop future managers.
- Soft skills: Apprenticeships lead to improved employee engagement, greater problem-solving ability, flexibility to perform a variety of tasks, and a reduced need for supervision.
Benefits to the apprentice include paid on-the-job training, less student debt, and the opportunity to work with a mentor in the industry as skills develop. Jessica Jones is a 30-year-old single mom of four who is in a program through the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE).
“I am gaining in-depth knowledge about the growth and development of children. Laying a foundation of trust early in a child’s life is going to help them grow and succeed on a personal level.” --Jessica Jones, St. Louis, MO
Ms. Jones uses the skills she is learning as an apprentice to improve the lives of the children she teaches at University City Children’s Center in St. Louis. You can read her story here!
Where to find information about apprenticeships
If you are thinking about exploring an apprenticeship, check out this website for more information: https://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/NAW/. Take a moment to search the event listings for National Apprenticeship Week! Maybe you'll find an apprenticeship in an industry you didn't realize offered them, such as the hospitality industry, early childhood development, or information technology. Happy #NAW2017!
If you know of someone considering a career transition who would benefit from speaking with a career coach, feel free to refer them to me! You can sign up for my email list as well, and I'd love it if you followed me on Twitter. Thanks so much!