- Most people (62%) think apprenticeships and other on-the-job training programs make jobseekers more employable than a college education, according to an American Staffing Association survey of more than 2,000 respondents. The ASA's Workforce Monitor survey found that 68% of respondents said learning a trade would help someone land a job more than pursuing a bachelor's degree, and 69% believe that a college degree isn't as valuable as it once was.
- The survey also reported that 71% of those polled do not think completing an apprenticeship would limit someone's future employment options. A majority (60%) disagreed with the notion that earn-while-learning programs generally lead to lower salaries than jobs requiring a college degree.
- Nine out of 10 respondents said apprenticeships can lead to new careers, prepare people for a job, and allow them to learn an interesting trade.
"U.S. businesses need to act now to launch work-based learning programs to address the widening skills gap and help attract and hire the best candidates in this tight labor market,” Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and CEO, said in a statement. Experts and leaders have echoed his sentiment as the unemployment rate continues to shrink and employers search for good, lasting workers.
Apprenticeships are reportedly on the rise, which may have been prompted in part by the U.S. Department of Labor's push for such programs. Just 27 occupations in the U.S. make regular use of apprenticeships, according to a recent study. More businesses could benefit from them. Though apprenticeships were once adopted for training young people for trades, they have expanded into white-collar fields, as well.
As employers move to close the skills gap in this tight labor market, they may need to consider reevaluating their candidate criteria. Some have been placing more value on candidates' skills rather than their degrees and certifications, preparing those without the required experience for the job through apprenticeships and training programs.