Midwest states investing more in ‘earn while you learn’ apprenticeships

Across the country, the number of “earn while you learn” programs is growing rapidly, and some states in the Midwest are leading the way with new policies to expand apprenticeship opportunities.

One year ago, Iowa legislators tripled the state’s investment in these programs. The money goes to training grants for employers as well as the sponsors of apprenticeships (a labor or trade organization, for example) that meet federal standards. Iowa’s decision to deepen support for apprenticeships came on the heels of a statewide study documenting their success: Residents who take part in these programs ultimately earn higher wages when compared to graduates of traditional community college programs.

Over the past year, apprenticeship opportunities in Iowa have increased by more than 20 percent, federal data show. Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska also are among the U.S. states with the highest rates of growth. In 2013, Michigan legislators established a Skilled Trades Training Fund, which fosters apprenticeship partnerships between community colleges (or other training providers) and local employers. Nationwide, the three most popular occupations for apprenticeship programs are electrician, carpenter and plumber.
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Stateline Midwest: October 20153.23 MB