The Equity and Growth Case for Apprenticeships

The United States—and the world—is in a period of rapid economic change.  Innovations in computing and software, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology are remaking how companies operate and the nature of work itself.  Alongside these technological revolutions, there are profound social changes happening. 

The United States is becoming a nation that is majority people of color, and women are achieving more parity in the workplace.  Yet, our population has a declining labor force participation rate that is partially driven by legal and structural barriers to employment, like collateral consequences.[27]  Moreover, we have rising economic inequality and less economic mobility, making it more difficult for an increasing number of people in the United States to afford a college or graduate education.[28]   

At the same time, the nation faces an increasing skills gap between jobseekers and available jobs, particularly for middle-skill jobs and jobs in new industries.  In fact, several industries are unable to operate at capacity and realize their full economic potential because they cannot fill critical openings.

This section will provide context on the current and future challenges facing workers and companies in our national and state economy, and how apprenticeships can help bridge the gap, while creating more equity and opportunity for people, and growth for companies and our economy. 

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