Posted on 2/8/2017

Six Reasons to Start a Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program

John Hindman

College and similar forms of education often teach students to think critically and give them the basic background to perform, but these programs lack the focused skills and training to hit the ground running on day one. Luckily, the tools to solve these two problems – preparedness and skills – have been around for hundreds of years in the form of apprenticeships. This is not Michelangelo’s apprenticeship; today’s most successful programs blend hands-on learning with problem solving and classroom instruction.

Here are six proof points that explain why starting an apprenticeship program can benefit your company:

1. Apprenticeships lead to better employees. Employers with employees who feel valued tend to have better retention rates. Apprenticeships allow workers to gain the skills necessary for desired advancement, avoid the hefty debt typical to today’s college graduates and increase lifetime compensation.

2. High-performance companies have apprenticeships. High-performance organizations are 4.5 times more likely to grow existing apprenticeship programs or start one (i4cp, formerly the Human Resources Institute). Companies receive $1.47 in increased productivity, reduced waste and greater innovation for every dollar they invest in an apprentice (U.S. Department of Labor). 

3. Apprenticeships staff your company TODAY. Most businesses don’t have the time to wait four years for a potential worker to go to college before starting – openings need to be filled today. Because apprenticeships combine related training instruction with on-the-job training, employers get a highly skilled worker who is able to begin contributing sooner than more traditional educational routes.  

4. Employees have the skills YOU need. Colleges and universities teach the curriculum they feel is important, which may not align with your needs – requiring additional training time after graduates are hired. Apprenticeships, on the other hand, are built around your business’ specific needs.

5. Apprenticeships can bring financial incentives. Some states offer tax breaks to companies with established apprenticeship programs, a financial reward in addition to better trained employees. And, employee tuition benefits may be available to apprentices in certain states, helping to relieve the stress of taking out student loans. Meanwhile, the federal government is continuing to expand funds available to states to support apprenticeships within their regions.

6. Companies can save money. In manufacturing, a 2014 report found that due to the skills shortage the average manufacturer can lose 11 percent of annual earnings, or $3,000 per existing employee.

Learn more about modern apprenticeships and Tooling U-SME’s Acceleration Framework here

About the Author

John Hindman | Tooling U-SME

John Hindman is Tooling U-SME's Learning and Performance Improvement (LPI) Leader. John acts as a champion for applying best practices to developing performance-based workforce development strategies in today's manufacturing environments. He partners with manufacturing learning champions to develop tactics and business plans for the deployment of effective and efficient career pathway programs from onboarding to high performance progression levels. John has led many webinars and facilitated a number of workshops on best practices in workforce development and has been bylined in whitepapers discussing minimizing the manufacturing skills gap through instructionally sound learning and development programs. John continues to research and put into practice new techniques on adult learning and the development of the millennial workforce.


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