LANSING — As Apprenticeship Week kicks off, the State of Michigan is launching a Race to Talent™ with Registered Apprenticeship campaign to attract more employers in more sectors to offer the proven training model to help them secure the talent they need to ensure business success.
“In Michigan, we are creating more paths to good-paying jobs so everyone can build a great life,” said Governor Whitmer. “During Apprenticeship Week, we are proud to highlight Michigan’s leadership in creating and expanding Registered Apprenticeships to connect people with the skills and training they need to get good-paying, middle-class jobs and fill open positions. We established and funded Michigan Reconnect to offer tuition-free skills training and associates degrees for anyone 21 and older and the Michigan Achievement Scholarship to save the majority of students getting degrees thousands of dollars so everyone can pursue they path that’s best for them. Let’s keep bringing educational institutions, businesses, and hardworking people together to build a brighter future for Michigan.”
While ranked 10th in the nation by population, Michigan had the fourth-highest number of active Registered Apprenticeships in the nation in 2021 according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics. The Great Lakes State also ranked seventh for number of new Registered Apprentices and eighth for completers nationwide.
Registered Apprenticeships offer a paid pathway to great careers for workers while providing employers a customized, proven training model that accelerates the growth of right-skilled workers, reduces turnover, diversifies the workforce and retains and transfers key business knowledge to the next generation.
Registered Apprenticeships are an industry-driven, high-quality career training model in which employers develop and prepare Michigan’s future workforce. Registered Apprentices gain paid work experience, related classroom instruction and a nationally industry-recognized credential upon program completion. Employers interested in building their skilled workforce through Registered Apprenticeships in Michigan should visit Michigan.gov/Apprenticeship.
There are nearly 20,000 Registered Apprentices in Michigan and more than 1,200 active programs, according to Susan Corbin, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). Since 2019, LEO has brought in $90 million in state and federal funding to support the growth of the use of Registered Apprenticeship Programs.
Boosting awareness of the benefits of Registered Apprenticeships is a part of LEO’s overall efforts to expand opportunities and pathways to the high skill, high-wage, in-demand careers needed to grow and sustain a vibrant economy. That effort strengthens Michigan’s Sixty by 30 goal to have 60% of Michigan’s working-age adults with a skills certificate or associate degree by 2030.
“Apprenticeships have been a robust part of Michigan’s manufacturing and construction trades success since before the Model T, but today’s Registered Apprenticeships go beyond those traditional fields and that’s important to recognize,” Corbin said.
While the bulk of Registered Apprenticeships still come out of the manufacturing and construction industries, Corbin pointed to “significant growth in the energy, health care, information technology, mobility, education and child care sectors in all regions of the state.”
“A wide range of industries and occupations are learning how to set up a Registered Apprenticeship Program to meet their unique needs through LEO’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training.
“We’re seeing Registered Apprenticeship Programs for registered nurses, teachers, golf course maintenance technicians, fine chocolate makers, professional beekeepers, master brewers and the list goes on,” Beckhorn said. “There really is no limit to the types of businesses that can benefit from Registered Apprenticeship.”
Through reductions in turnover, improved productivity and increased work quality, employers who use Registered Apprenticeships to train employers earn a return on investment of $1.47 for every dollar they put in, Beckhorn said.
As more Michigan employers learn about the value of Registered Apprenticeships, LEO has partnered with other state agencies and statewide associations to promote and facilitate greater participation.
Lee Graham, chairperson of the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee, Inc., said plenty of resources exist for any employer considering establishing a Registered Apprenticeship Program.
“In today’s world, there is a Registered Apprenticeship Program model that can be created or modified to meet specifications for any business,” Graham said. “We build for success and sustainability.”
Support is available to help employers interested in launching a Registered Apprenticeship Program. With state and federal backing, as well as some nonprofit foundation grants, there are ample funding opportunities that even smaller employers can take advantage of to bring on a Registered Apprentice, said Natasha Allen, director of strategic initiatives for the Michigan Works! Association.
Contact SEMCA Michigan Works! Workforce Business Liaison Jennifer Tucker to navigate the requirements to officially start and register an apprenticeship program, and connections to funding for program support. Career seekers interested in exploring opportunities should visit here where they can learn more about the training model’s benefits, available resources and assistance to get started.