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Apprenticeship ‘Can Make A Real Difference’ & ‘Opens The Doors Of Opportunity’

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2020
by Tonja Mettlach & Patrick Mitchell Via
Apprenticeship ‘Can Make A Real Difference’ & ‘Opens The Doors Of Opportunity’ Editor’s Note: This Labor Perspective was authored by Tonja Mettlach, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Workforce Association, and Patrick Mitchell, the Director of Apprenticeship Expansion & Work-based Learning at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.


A quick glance at on-line job openings in several lucrative fields in Western Massachusetts shows plenty of “Help Wanted” signs, but matching those who are hiring with those who are fully trained and skilled to meet an employer’s needs can prove challenging.

Apprenticeship is a win-win for both employers and individuals who are seeking a new career or opportunity as it provides earn-while-you-learn training for precisely the skills that businesses need.

Through the collaboration of industry and the many Apprenticeship Programs recognized by the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards, we have a tool to generate the trained workforce that Massachusetts employers need to grow and thrive.

Working with Massachusetts Workforce Association members, Local Registered Apprenticeship Programs are emerging as successful pathways to grow an organization’s talent by recruiting, training and retaining their people.

At the end of 2019, Massachusetts had 1,842 Apprenticeship Training Programs supporting almost 3,000 employers across the state.

These businesses combine to employ 10,393 active Apprentices and, between 2014 and 2019, nearly 25,000 Registered Apprentices were working in Massachusetts.

While more than 80% of Apprenticeships are in construction and the Building Trades, Massachusetts is actively expanding the model into new industries and occupations including health care, manufacturing, and IT.

Registered Apprenticeship Programs are the gold standard for professional training and education.

They involve both on-the-job training and classroom education, but also pay Workers a livable wage during that time.

This ensures the graduate leaves with a strong foundation, a recognized credential, and a productive career in their chosen field.

Above all, it provides a ticket to the Middle Class.

The return on investment for businesses and job seekers is also incredibly high.

Research shows Apprentices have a more than $240,000 earning advantage over their lifetime compared to those who do not participate in an Apprenticeship.

For example, Canada has found that for every dollar an employer spends on training and educating an Apprentice, they get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity- a nearly 50% return.

For further example, Baystate Health, who became involved in developing Registered Apprenticeships through the MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board.

Baystate Health recognized the multiple benefits that Apprenticeship can contribute.

In the short term, implementing the model provided Baystate with sustainable pathways to train new talent from the local community.

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