National Apprenticeship Week is Here!

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on November 13, 2017

Starting today, to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 13-19), we will share a series of blog posts that introduce you to companies, individuals and educators that are making a difference through apprenticeship programs. Our blog posts about apprenticeships receive our highest readership so we know you are interested in this effective approach to solving the skills gap.

First, we want to talk about why manufacturers should set up an apprenticeship program. Here are some compelling stats from the U.S. Department of Labor:

  • More than 150,000 employers and labor management organizations benefit from apprenticeships.
  • There are 545,000+ apprentices nationwide in more than 1,000 occupations.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 apprentices are employed after completing their apprenticeship. Average starting salary: $60K+ per year.
  • Workers who complete apprenticeship programs earn $300,000 more over a career than their peers who don’t.
  • For every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers get approximately $1.50 ROI.

So there are advantages all around — for employers and employees who commit to this beneficial “earn to learn” training approach.

In our frequent travels, we have the chance to see apprenticeship success stories across the country. From our interactions with companies large and small, we’ve developed a list of 6 Reasons To Start An Apprenticeship Program for Manufacturing, as you’ll see in the graphic.

6 Reasons To Start An Apprenticeship Program for Manufacturing

Check back this week for news of apprenticeships in action. Tomorrow, we’ll introduce you to Tim Walker, Training & Development Specialist for Pequot Tool & Manufacturing, located outside Minneapolis. In a guest blog, Tim will talk about how the precision machining and fabrication contract manufacturer is tackling their workforce challenges through apprenticeships.

On Wednesday, we’ll introduce you to two talented graduates of the West Virginia Women Work Pre-Apprenticeship Program, which operates in conjunction with the Robert C. Byrd Institute and Tooling U-SME.

Thursday, we’ll look at how apprenticeships positively impact culture, and how for companies like San Antonio-based Cox Manufacturing, this is helping reduce turnover and increase retention while saving money.

And finally, on Friday, we’ll explore how a collaborative approach to apprenticeships involving manufacturers, workforce educators, individuals, DOL, Unions, workforce agencies and Community-based Organizations, is accelerating solutions to the skills gap.

We’d love to hear about your experiences related to apprenticeships, and hope you’ll weigh in during National Apprenticeship Week or after. If we can help answer any questions or help you put an apprenticeship program in place, please reach out to us at

Tags: "6 Reasons To Start An Apprenticeship Program for Manufacturing", apprentice, apprenticeship, "Cox Manufacturing", DOL, manufacturing, "National Apprenticeship Week", "Pequot Tool & Manufacturing", "Robert C. Byrd Institute", "Tim Walker", "Tooling U-SME", "U.S. Department of Labor", "West Virginia Women Work Pre-Apprenticeship Program"