Apprenticeships Can Kickstart Careers

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Nine in 10 Americans who either were apprentices themselves or know someone enrolled in these “earn while learning” programs say the experiences had a positive effect on that person’s career, according to the results of the latest American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor® survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted online by The Harris Poll.

The vast majority of U.S. adults with an opinion about apprenticeships (92%) view them favorably. Four in five Americans (84%) think that more people should consider apprenticeships, and seven in 10 (68%) wish they knew more about these vocational opportunities, according to the results of the survey.

While four in five (79%) U.S. adults are familiar with apprenticeships, misconceptions abound. One notable fallacy is they are not paid—only two in five Americans (38%) characterize apprenticeships as paying workers a wage, even though a paid-work component is a foundation of these career opportunities, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Millennials (aged 18‒34) are particularly open to apprenticeships. After being given the definition of an apprenticeship as “a program that combines a paid work component and an educational or instructional component, where a person can learn relevant knowledge and skills on the job,” a majority (54%) say they are likely to consider these learning opportunities in the next two years—significantly more than any other age group.

“Apprenticeships not only offer people the benefit of earning a wage while learning new skills or vocations, they are going to become an essential element of recruiting, retention, and employee development programs in the future,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “As most Americans view apprenticeships positively, employers have a great opportunity to develop new work-based learning programs to ensure American workers have accesses to upskilling and reskilling programs that can kickstart careers.”

To learn more about the ASA Workforce Monitor, visit americanstaffing.net/workforcemonitor. You can also follow ASA research on Twitter.

Research Method

The Harris Poll conducted the survey online within the U.S. on behalf of ASA April 5–9, 2018, among a total of 2,029 U.S. adults age 18 and older. Results were weighted on age, education, race/ethnicity, household income, and geographic region where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the U.S. population.

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About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit americanstaffing.net.

About the ASA Workforce Monitor

The ASA Workforce Monitor is a periodic survey commissioned by ASA and conducted online by Harris Poll among 1,000 or more U.S. adults age 18 and older. The survey series focuses on current workforce trends and issues. For more information about the survey series, visit americanstaffing.net/workforcemonitor.

About The Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. (tracking public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963) and is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm.


ASA Workforce MonitorMore than three-quarters of employed U.S. adults (79%) are satisfied with their employers’ pandemic-related return-to-work plans. Download the infographic »

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