This week marks National Apprenticeship Week, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. For the first time, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® and our members have a voice in the conversation. U.S. unemployment is at record lows and, according to CTA’s 2019 Future of Work survey, 80% of employers say it is difficult to find candidates with the right skills and abilities.
Apprenticships are a proven and valuable employment pathway that tech companies should use to fill their in-demand vacant roles.
For centuries, apprenticeships have played a role in training workers for the trades. In recent years, however, companies are discovering the value of the apprenticeship model to fill in-demand tech roles. Tech companies are starting to incorporate a mix of classroom learning, mentorship and on-the-job training to fill their talent pipeline.
Apprenticeships enable tech companies to tap new labor sources, create jobs for people who might never have had access to them, and build more diverse and inclusive workforces.
Apprentices start work with their employers on day one and are fully trained employees in as little as one year.
By hiring apprentices, employers build not only the skills they need in their employees, but also the skills American workers need to thrive in the workplaces of tomorrow.
Apprenticeships train individuals in technical skills, such as coding and software development, as well as crucial soft skills, including effective communication, teamwork and problem solving.
A remarkable number of apprentices stay at the companies that train them for many years. Employees who completed a registered apprenticeship have an estimated retention rate of 89% over three years.
By hiring apprentices full-time after they complete the program, employers save on the costs of hiring and training staff and build a well-trained workforce for the long term.
Higher retention rates and increased productivity from well-trained employees leads to a proven return on investment from apprenticeships. International studies estimate that for every dollar employers spend on apprentices, they gain nearly $1.50.
Apprenticeships create wider avenues for hiring the best and brightest. Apprenticeships actively welcome nontraditional workers, who bring varied backgrounds and enter their roles with skills other candidates may lack.
A 2017 Urban Institute report examining the effect of state apprenticeship agencies on diversity found that the number of people of color in apprenticeship programs grew from just over 20% in 2000 to more than 40% in 2016.
By offering apprenticeships in tech sector, companies can build a workforce that better reflects the population in which they operate and the customers they serve.
Improving diversity at the source of innovation ensures that technologies such as speech and facial recognition function as intended for users of all backgrounds.
By creating more apprenticeship programs, employers will help close the skills gap by building stronger, more diverse and adaptable workforces.
To learn more about apprenticeships check out the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition.