A new, comprehensive study examines the important role and value apprenticeships can play in filling the rapidly increasing need for skilled trades workers facing communities and industries across Michigan and the rest of the country.

The Benefits of Michigan Apprenticeship Programs report provides a unique, long‐​term look at apprenticeships and spans data over a 15‐​year period, says Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a researcher on the report. The report is timely, as 37 percent of job growth in Michigan over the next five years is expected to be in middle skills occupations, which require more than a high school education but less than a university college degree.

“As our state looks to grow the skilled trades, we wanted to explore the factors and benefits of apprenticeship programs to help guide policymakers, school guidance counselors, and students and their families,” Sikkema said. “The takeaway is clear: earning while you learn is a powerful tool for Michigan workers to develop critical, in‐​demand skills with good wages that help meet the fast‐​growing needs of employers and our economy, both today and in the future. Apprenticeships are also a key way our state can help ensure a strong, thriving middle class.”

Apprenticeships consist of a combination of practical on‐​the‐​job training and formal classroom instruction on a given field’s latest technology and techniques (often in the building trades). Workers earn a full‐​time wage with benefits while they are going through the program. They also graduate without debt, as the training is covered by the employer and/​or union.

Other report highlights include:

  • Registered apprenticeship programs provide workers with a nationally recognized credential that is stackable and portable.
  • Apprentice graduates see a significant boost in earnings, and national estimates indicate a lifetime earnings increase of over $300,000.
  • The graduation or completion rate of registered apprenticeships (38 percent) is higher than all but two of Michigan’s community colleges.
  • Apprenticeship programs are privately funded, so there is no cost to taxpayers. Apprentices graduate debt free as they learn while they earn.
  • Union programs train 80 percent of apprentices.

A copy of the full report is available below.

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