Follow These Steps to Create a Great Apprentice Program

Companies are constantly complaining that they cannot find enough qualified people to fill all of their openings, saying that job candidates just don’t have the skills that are needed.

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A survey earlier this year revealed that the problem is worse than ever – talent shortages at a ten-year high, with two-thirds of companies surveyed saying they were having trouble filling positions.

Workers also are frustrated. Only about one-third of college students believe their institutions are giving them the education and skills they need to prepare them for the job market and a good career. More students are complaining that a college degree isn’t worth the high cost.

This crisis is causing some companies to take action to solve it. In an effort to bring workers’ skills more in line with the needs of employers, some companies are establishing apprenticeship programs.

When most people hear the word apprenticeship, they think of an educational program associated with the trades.

But companies are now also using apprenticeships for professional jobs so that they can shape people into the kind of workers they need. Twenty-first century apprenticeships are work-based training programs used in a variety of jobs, including cybersecurity, healthcare, data analytics, engineering, hospitality management, and manufacturing.

Companies that offer apprenticeship programs report higher productivity, innovation and retention among their workers.

How Apprenticeships Work

One salient feature of this new kind of apprenticeship is that it is highly targeted toward specific individuals and specific jobs. These apprenticeships are customized to fit the particular needs of a company. A worker is paid while they get on-the-job training. As the worker advances in skill level, their pay increases proportionally.

While apprenticeships are tailored to specific needs, there are some general guidelines that organizational experts recommend to ensure the programs are as effective as possible. They are the following:

  1. Put together a team to develop the apprenticeship program and get it off the ground. Team members should include a cross-section of company employees, including people who provide services to customers, mid-level management and leadership.
  2. If looking for external support, identify any educational institutions, such as community colleges or universities, or other nonprofit organizations or state apprenticeship organizations that can help run the program.
  3. Have coaches in place to work with those in the program.
  4. Develop clear, measurable goals for the program, as well as determining exactly what skills and core competencies each apprentice needs to master, along with a way to measure these skills.
  5. Create a curriculum that is tailored to the core competencies and skills.
  6. Establish training schedules and wage levels.
  7. Put a process in place for evaluating the program and making changes as needed.

Industry Recognized Programs

If you want your apprentice program to qualify for national recognition within your industry, you can register it with the U. S. Department of Labor. There are three general criteria that must first be met in order to register – identifying a specific occupation that the program is designed for, developing a training plan and listing a training provider for the classroom element of the program.

When you register, you will have access to federal resources and technical assistance, qualify for state tax credits and the program also will offer a nationally recognized credential for apprentices.

It’s not too early to start finding newly-minted members of the Class of 2021 for your job opportunities. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

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