Posted November 4, 2019

Report: Modern apprenticeship model proves effective solution to combatting U.S. skills gap

Modern apprenticeships sync workforce development with economic demands.

Today IWSI America, a workforce development organization, released its 2019 report: It's Time: Using Modern Apprenticeships to Reskill America. The report outlines how modern apprenticeships – defined as work-based learning programs designed to fill the specific talent needs of businesses and industries – can tighten the nation's widening skills gap and strengthen pipelines of needed skilled workers across a wide range of growth industries.

The report, which spotlights some of the nation's top companies including EasyKicks with NIKE, Mailchimp, Adobe and CVS Health, shows the effectiveness and versatility of modern apprenticeships across finance, healthcare, cybersecurity, engineering and advanced manufacturing industries.

"Modern apprenticeships are adaptable and applicable across so many industries and are needed now more than ever to strengthen businesses and economies. Employers experience a direct return on investment in apprenticeship programs and apprentices benefit from a earn-while-you earn model that often positions them with a direct path to a job and free of student debt," said Nicholas Wyman, CEO and founder of IWSI America.

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • The U.S. is facing a fundamental challenge to its economic prosperity. Employers are coming up short with the skills they need to be fully competitive, productive and meet long–term goals.
  • Today, the average starting wage for apprentices in the United States is above $60,000 and apprentices mostly complete their program debt-free with the potential to earn college credit leading to an associate or bachelor's degree.
  • Businesses are seeing tangible returns from their investments in modern apprenticeships through improved employee performance; greater workplace diversity; innovative product development; increased competitive advantage; and reduced turnover, training and recruitment costs.
  • While employers are struggling to fill more than 7 million vacancies in the American job market with qualified candidates who have both relevant skills and workplace experience, 33 percent of college graduates are underemployed. The traditional approaches businesses use to cultivate talent, in either school or on the job, are out of sync with evolving employer needs. As a solution, people need to rethink their post-secondary and school-to-work options, and employers need to become more creative about their recruitment, hiring, and talent development strategies.
  • Modern Apprenticeship offers a broad array of career pathways, and unprecedented opportunities due to the skills gap, additionally around 91 percent of apprenticeship graduates find employment almost immediately after finishing their programs.
  • California and Kentucky are leading the way in innovative programs that integrate education and businesses, with proven results.
  • Other countries have implemented a successful model of baking apprenticeships into school curriculum, and ultimately combatting industry's skills gap.

"With the tightest job market in history, it's time to embrace a contemporary approach to workforce development, that meets both the technical and interpersonal skills needs of employers and prepares people for lifelong learning and success," said Wyman.

About IWSI America
The IWSI Group has decades of experience in growing modern apprenticeship programs for a broad range of populations including young adults, transitioning or mature workers and underserved populations like disadvantaged youth, juveniles in the justice system, and formerly incarcerated individuals.

In addition to advising on the design and implementation of new programs, IWSI uses its decades of experience to identify gaps or weak links in existing programs and initiatives – improving efficacy, expanding candidate pools, and ultimately strengthening impacts of a workforce bolstered by modern apprenticeship. Learn more at