Apprenticeships are an overlooked solution in the United States for increasing access to quality jobs and expanding the pool of qualified talent. As an earn-and-learn option, apprenticeships combine paid work experience and related classroom instruction over several years. Apprenticeships have a long history in the U.S. and there is growing evidence that they are effective for increasing earnings and access to good jobs, but they have yet to be widely adopted outside trades such as construction and utilities.
For the first time in over 80 years, the U.S. is on the cusp of passing updated legislation to expand access to apprenticeships. On February 5, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021. As the bill makes its way to the Senate, on Monday, March 1, Brookings is convening this event to explore what it means to modernize and expand apprenticeship, with a special focus on unpacking the value of apprenticeship for employers outside the trades.
The event brought together champions of apprenticeship to share what they have learned from starting apprenticeships in their organization, what the potential benefits and costs of apprenticeship are, and what the new legislation offers. Additionally, we discussed how apprenticeship can be used to advance equity and inclusion goals in industries like technology that often struggle to identify, attract, and retain diverse talent.
To learn more about starting and designing an apprenticeship program, please see the companion piece for this event– An apprenticeship FAQ: What employers need to know about talent development.