Apprenticeships Back On The Upswing

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After bottoming out at 52,763 total apprenticeships in 2011, California’s numbers are back up around 60,000 and continuing to grow

March 07, 2016

Since the recession, apprenticeships have had a slow and steady wins the race approach. Only, they haven’t exactly been winning anything. In fact, apprenticeships have been lagging behind other sectors affected by the Great Recession, most of which have already surpassed their pre-recession numbers. But in at least one U.S. county, apprenticeships and training programs in the trades are finally starting to make a comeback.

Thanks to the construction boom currently occurring in Orange County, Calif, combined with an aging workforce, the demand for an influx of apprentice-level electricians, plumbers, and entry-level workers in other fields is rising quickly. This trend is beginning to be seen on a larger scale, as well, as government agencies have begun pushing apprenticeships as an alternative to college for training for middle-income jobs.

With more demand and opportunities, unions and other organizations that sponsor apprentice programs are interested in expanding the candidate pool in an effort to attract as much talent as possible, according to The Orange County Register. Individuals looking to make a career change, military veterans, minorities, and women (who are typically very underrepresented in construction) are all currently being targeted at a higher rate than in the past.

By some estimates, such as that by Ron Miller, executive secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, apprenticeships in California have reached 60,000 again and are continuing to grow.

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