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Dr. Lerman presented a keynote address at the June 1st Maryland Apprenticeship Action Summit held at Towson University.

Dr. Lerman presented a keynote address at the June 1st Maryland Apprenticeship Action Summit held at Towson University.

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  • 1. Expanding Apprenticeship Training in Maryland: Rationale and Suggestions
    Robert I. Lerman
    American University and Urban Institute
  • 2. Today’s Agenda
    Describe apprenticeship in context of US system of skill preparation
    Convincing educators, employers, parents, and policymakers about why we should expand apprenticeship
    Ideas for achieving an expansion
  • 3. Summary of the Argument
    • US lacks a good system for seamlessly integrating occupational demand with training for building skills
    • 4. Schools operate largely independently of labor market considerations, sometimes purposely
    • 5. Other countries have good systems for transitions from school to work, but the US has a single “ideal”—finish high school, go to college, and find a career
    • 6. Youth work while in school, not connected to careers
    • 7. Expanding apprenticeship can help meet needs of workers and employers
  • 8. One Trillion Dollars$1,093,000,000,000
  • 9. 4
    Education, Skills, Jobs and Careers
    Preparing people for jobs, careers, life is a complex, multifaceted process—how can we best maximize:
    Value of education, training for cultivated person, voter, parent, and lifelong learner
    Value of education and training for jobs and careers that yield a good living, satisfaction
  • 10. 5
    Appropriate Balance Between Uniformity and Heterogeneity
    • Modern life requires some common capabilities
    • 11. But jobs, careers, interests differ in skills demanded
    • 12. Raises centuries-old tensions between the roles of general education versus career-oriented education
    • 13. Education world is homogeneous while the world of work is highly heterogeneous
  • 6
    Heterogeneity in Learning Styles, Timing, and Motivation
    Student motivation is a central component
    Motivation and learning styles vary—from abstract, classroom-based approaches to hands-on applications of principles
    Variations are particularly important with age—the appropriate timing varies as well
  • 14. 7
    Where is the US system in terms of preparation for jobs and careers?
    An academic-based system aimed at all students
    Heterogeneity expected to take place only in late college, graduate school, or on jobs
    Emphasis is on college-for-all policies
    Effort to maximize course requirements for high school graduation
    Modest numbers of alternatives, such as career academies & tech-prep—2nd chance programs
  • 15. 8
    Strengths and Weaknesses
    Develops world’s top universities
    Offers the chance to delay career choice with little penalty
    Big weaknesses
    Leaves many as dropouts in or out of classes
    Disadvantages many with practical learning styles
    Encourages long-term adolescence and delays mature preparation for careers
    Many students have little motivation to learn
    Supply-side initiative only—no incentive to restructure jobs in ways closely linked to training, careers
  • 16. 9
    Polarized System Not Well-Suited to Expanding the Middle Class
    Emphasis is on 4 year colleges; impose sameness on young people—sameness is not equality
    Community colleges are attempting to come to the rescue but their performance is highly uneven—often weaker than for-profit colleges
    Minimizes work-based learning, motivation
    Fails to prepare people with non-academic and occupational skills that employers demand
  • 17. Measurement Gaps Are Part of the Problem
    Skills are years of schooling, test scores on academic tests
    Critical skills employers demand
    1) occupational skills, 2) non-academic skills, communication skills, problem-solving, teamwork
    When we do not measure key skills, we are unlikely to focus on improving them
  • 18. Washington employers, DifficultyHiring Qualified Workers, by Skill
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21. The Community College Boom
    Community colleges have a place in expanding skills—evidence shows positive returns, to years and degrees
    But CC education is uneven and often falls short, partly because of weak links with employers, poor qualifications of entrants, minimal guidance, high costs, and now capacity constraints, crowded classrooms
    Not comfortable for people who learn best by doing, who can only learn key workplace skills in the workplace
  • 22. 15
    Emerging Initiatives
    • Some new approaches to create a more seamless web with work-based learning, employer involvement, occupational and generic skills
    • 23. For Career Academies, results from experiments show gains for at-risk youth
    • 24. Exemplary high school Career/Technical Education and community college programs
    • 25. Sectoral strategies in job training
  • 16
    Why Reinvent Apprenticeship?
    Key features of successful programs are already embedded in apprenticeship
    Intensive combination of work-based (3-4 years) and classroom training (2+ years)
    Sectoral strategies, employer involvement
    Many additional benefits--high standards for recognized credentials—meets state licensing and certification standards
  • 26. Key concept
    “Learning through practice alongside and under the guidance of an expert practitioner is the most effective way, to transmit professional experience and skills from one generation to the next”
  • 27. Apprenticeship as Youth Development
    The Means to Grow Up
    by Robert Halpern
  • 28. Added points to stress
    Conveys occupational pride, identity, apprentices become part of “communities of practice”
    Emphasizes using skills; academic skills erode when they go unused
    Works on demand and supply sides of the job market; schools work only on the supply side
    Firms willing to finance training--studies indicate many breakeven during the training period
    Mentoring critical for at-risk young people
  • 29. International Experience
    Apprenticeship is a mainstream route to career success in European & other advanced economies
    Provides training for 50-70 percent of young people in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.
    Skills of manufacturing workers in these countries part of their comparative advantage in that sector
    Apprenticeships are expanding rapidly in Ireland, Australia, United Kingdom, covering many occupations, including nursing, information technology, finance, and advanced manufacturing
  • 30. High Income Countries Further Ahead in Apprenticeships than BAs
    Switzerland has an income per capita that is over one-third higher than the US
    It has some great universities
    But in Switzerland, over 70 percent of young people go through apprenticeships
    Many of Germany’s best students—those who can attend college for free—go to apprenticeships
  • 31. What makes Swiss successful?
    General skills are learned in a problem-oriented setting, offers good motivation for at-risk youth
    Skills learned by apprentices assist in the rapid adoption of new technologies
    National recognition of standards
    Provides attractive alternatives for talented youth who are tired of school
    Most employers providing apprenticeships recoup benefits that exceed the costs (value of productive help by apprentice is higher than costs)
  • 32. UK Experience is Relevant
    Started fresh after giving up many programs
    Relatively free labor market
    Concerns about wage inequality
    Job skills, including workplace skills, of non-college youth a big problem
    Tendency toward college as the only route to successful careers
  • 33. UK Apprenticeships
    Apprentices are employed people who receive official, structured training
    Related training delivered 1 day per week at a vocational provider (college, commercial company)
    They normally work 4 days per week or more
    But the program is flexible – the employer decides how it is delivered and the contents of the course
    Apprenticeships are for young and current workers
    Government subsidizes training costs
  • 34. UK Program is expanding rapidly
    From very low numbers in 2000, the program is now reaching 281,000 entrants
    Completion rates are over 70 percent
    Expect 400,000 starts in 2014, thereby reaching the number entering UK universities
    Demonstrates feasibility even in countries that have not used apprenticeship lately
  • 35. Most popular apprenticeships
  • 36. Other new innovations
    Computer field is highly successful at using apprenticeships; graduates of computer apprenticeships in more demand than BAs
    Entrepreneurship apprenticeships have developed successfully in Finland
    Finland illustrates the importance of job-based training; high academic skills but very high youth unemployment
  • 37. Evidence of returns for Canadian, Swiss and German Employers
    Studies show employers reap returns to apprenticeship training often even during the time of training
    Apprentices produce less than their earnings and the overall costs during the first year but produce more than they earn in later years
    No comparable studies in the US
  • 38. Help Firms Evaluate Benefits
  • 39. So why not apprenticeship?
    Budget tiny despite massive increase in spending & initiatives for community colleges
    So what about the empirical evidence?
    Impacts on workers and employers
  • 40. What about US experience? Impacts on workers?
    Many assume that occupational training is not effective since people change jobs often in the U.S.
    (This does not stop tens of thousands of people going to law school and medical school.)
    Of course, what you learn in occupational training can be applied to other jobs and even other fields
    Many who gain occupational training become more confident about subsequent learning
  • 41. Best Evidence from Washington
    Results are based on a methodology that matches workers on their earnings before they enter one or another type of training
    It includes workers who enter public job service centers (One-Stops)
    The study tracked their earnings after training using administrative records drawn from the unemployment insurance system
  • 42.
  • 43.
  • 44. Who are the sponsors of registered apprenticeship programs?
    • By industry, 36 percent are in construction, 10 percent in retail trade, 11 percent in energy, 5 percent in automotive, and a mix of security, IT, communication
    • 45. In 2007, 1 in 4 sponsors operated joint programs, (labor-management) but they accounted for over 60% of all apprentices; 40% in union construction
    • 46. Over half the sponsors (53%) had only 1-4 apprentices
    • 47. Sixty percent of programs served only one employer, while 40 percent served multiple employers.
    • 48. 48% of programs were over 10 years old
  • 49. Satisfaction and Main Benefits
    97% of sponsors (97%) would recommend the program—86% would do so “strongly”
    Main benefits of program
    Helps meet their demand for skilled workers (80%)
    Reliably shows which workers have relevant skills (72%)
    Raises productivity, strengthens worker morale and pride, and improves worker safety (about 70%)
    Improvements in worker recruitment and retention and in meeting licensing requirements (56%)
    Saving on pay is a relatively minor benefit
  • 50. Arguments Against Apprenticeship
    Apprenticeship is stigmatizing
    Usually the opposite is true; completers have great pride especially if skill standards and wages are high
    Apprenticeship reduces mobility—no evidence of this—again evidence for just the opposite; no indication that skills are too specific—many of the generic skills learned are widely applicable
    Apprenticeship requires employers—so does every other job outcome; employers have no incentive to train because of the fear of poaching
  • 51. Reduced Youth Unemployment
    Countries that emphasize “dual systems” have lower unemployment rates
    Finland, which has top academic scores, have youth unemployment rates over 20%
    Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have very low youth unemployment rates, only slightly above adult unemployment rates
  • 52. Poaching, Other Issues in U.S.
    Firms paying for training might lose if competitors hired away qualified trainees
    Yet, only 25 percent of sponsors see poaching as a significant problem; it is a problem for 50%
    Only 11% of sponsors are concerned about the program’s duration; only 8% see the use of experienced worker time as a significant problem
  • 53. Where do we go from here?
    Pure academic approach is failing many kids and delaying success for many others--must first drop the idea that formal academic training need be the only route to quality careers.
    Learning and competency require engagement
    Student motivation is central component, it is time to recognize motivation and learning styles vary—from abstract, classroom-based approaches to hands-on, contextualized applications
    Variations important by sex—men are falling far behind in completing college
  • 54. States, WIA Can Lead the Way
    Bring together community colleges, firms, and workers as part of broad effort-use new CC grants
    Meets various criteria—jointly designed with firms, basic skills with occupational training, transparent career pathways
    Provide allocation to employers for education costs of program—perhaps fund 1 of each 4 apprentices if recruitment is at One-Stop
    Insure employers can access occupation skill profiles
  • 55. South Carolina’s Story
    Stimulated by the state chamber, the state began providing $1 million per year to expand apprenticeship—base is a technical college
    Also, a $1,000 tax credit per apprentice per year
    Effort so far has led to one new program per week, 50% increase in apprentices
    Shows what can be done with close marketing
    Cost per added apprentice is $3,600; present value of earnings gains at least $100,000
  • 56. Concrete steps at state/federal level
    Make apprenticeship the center of a national skills strategy for jobs in key industries and occupations
    Expand funding for the federal and state apprenticeship office especially for marketing but also to monitor, and conduct research on workers, firms, standards
    Establish a tax credit of $5,000 for each apprentice position beyond 80% of current levels by firms
    Provide more funding for the related instruction component of apprenticeship training
    Provide incentives for apprenticeship linkages with community colleges and career colleges
  • 57. Make Occupational Standards Transparent, Accessible
    OA should cull all the occupational standards already used in the US and make them easily accessible to employers and the public
    OA should collaborate with other countries to compare occupational certifications
    Will still require marketing to employers but can ease the process
    Develop scenarios to show governors and legislatures how apprenticeship can save postsecondary dollars and improve outcomes
  • 58. Government as Employer
    Many skills used in the government are also used in the private sector
    One in six jobs are government jobs
    Some—police and fire—often use apprenticeship but much more could be accomplished if the federal, state, and local governments built new programs