It’s National Apprenticeship Week. Here’s Why More People Should Know

Posted November 23, 2020 by Mark Perna

Grey-collar jobs are on the rise—and apprenticeships are a hot ticket to land one. Mark’s article, “It’s National Apprenticeship Week. Here’s Why More People Should Know,” published at on November 9, 2020.

November 8 kicks off 2020’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), and the world needs to know about it. Why? Because chances are, everything around you was built by trade professionals who first entered their field as humble apprentices.

Apprenticeships have been around longer than America, but they’re finally coming into their own. The Department of Labor defines apprenticeships as “industry-driven, high-quality career pathways in which employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and transferable credentials.”

Apprenticeships have evolved with the times, leaving stereotypical blue-collar work behind. With the technological advances in all fields, many apprenticeship pathways now lead to “grey-collar” positions that demand both physical labor and the high-level critical thinking, communication and professional skills often associated with a college education.

Today, there are apprentices in all the usual fields like construction, advanced manufacturing, electricity, plumbing, HVAC and welding—alongside a growing number in less traditional industries like healthcare, financial services, transportation and IT.

And speaking of less traditional, there’s also an increasing push for women to consider apprenticeship as an on-ramp to a rewarding career. Organizations like ANEW focus on apprenticeships to empower women to thrive in professions typically dominated by men. And for industries dogged by a persistent skills gap, tapping into a talented female workforce could make all the difference.

Why apprenticeships make sense

The staggering cost of college is one of the biggest reasons that young people are starting to look elsewhere for the skills and training to enter a living-wage profession. Student loan debt is one of Millennials’ biggest frustrations, and a 2019 Payscale survey reported that fully 75 percent of humanities majors and 73 percent of social science graduates regretted their education. (Granted, those percentages do drop significantly for STEM-related majors.)

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On the other end of the spectrum, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) reports that graduates of the apprenticeship program FAME were overwhelmingly satisfied with their career training pathway. Ninety-seven percent said that participating in the program was the right decision, and 81 percent would recommend it to a friend.

For employers, apprenticeships can train workers to industry standards in the skills to meet demand. The skills gap isn’t going to close itself, and more and more employers are turning to the apprenticeship model to start creating their own talent pipeline.

The skills gap isn’t going to close itself. Click To Tweet

NAW 2020, happening now

This week, NAW will bring together employers, educators, job seekers and communities at 239 events (and counting) nationwide to celebrate the positive impact of apprenticeships.

While NAW is all about promoting apprenticeship to the next generation, it doesn’t stop there. Employers can access resources and toolkits to create their own registered apprenticeship program and start reaping the benefits of a custom-trained, motivated and skilled workforce.

Now in its sixth year, NAW recognizes the powerful difference that apprenticeships are making in the American workforce. And it’s time the rest of us recognize it, too.

National Apprenticeship Week recognizes the powerful difference that apprenticeships are making in the American workforce. And it’s time the rest of us recognize it, too. Click To Tweet

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About The Author
Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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