Six Realities of Working in Auto Repair Today

Six Realities of Working in Auto Repair Today

Here you are, mid-career and searching for a new path forward. You want something competitive, a job that challenges you, one that allows you to use the skills you’ve worked hard to develop along with the opportunity to accelerate your earning potential.

 You’ve never really considered a job in the automotive industry, despite the fact that it’s rock-solid. And with rapid advances in technology, the call for qualified Automotive Service Technicians continues to grow, making it both an exciting and in-demand field. These compelling reasons are exactly why the Missouri Division of Workforce Development decided to partner with Franklin Apprenticeships to offer an innovative new program called AutoMOtive!, designed specifically for dislocated workers.

Unlike apprenticeship programs of the past, modern apprenticeships like those offered through AutoMOtive! allow you to earn a competitive wage while you learn the skills you need to succeed in your mid-career transition.

 So why the hesitation? Let’s take a look at some of the myths — and realities — surrounding today’s jobs in automotive service and repair.

 Myth: Auto repair is dirty.

Reality: As vehicles evolve, so do the ways in which they’re diagnosed and serviced.

 Today’s auto repair shop is far more likely to resemble a computer lab than the grimy, cluttered, greasy spaces of yesterday. Innovations in both systems and diagnostics make computers every bit as necessary as wrenches when it comes to vehicle service and repair. Think less “blue collar” and more “new collar” — a term coined by IBM CEO Ginny Rometty emphasizing skills over degrees — a brand new direction in which technology is playing an increasingly larger role.

Myth: Auto repair is a career path for men.

Reality: A growing emphasis on skill sets such as communications and problem solving are giving women equal access to a field previously monopolized by men.

Heavy machinery. Jobs and knowledge passed down from fathers to sons. These are just a couple of reasons the automotive field has been dominated by men for so long. But as the reliance on diagnostics shifts from hands-on to tech-driven, the need for savvy problem-solvers with great communication skills emerges, leveling the gender playing field and making a successful career as an Automotive Service Tech extremely attractive to women, too.

Myth: Auto repair jobs pay poorly.

Reality: Advances in auto design require new proficiencies in computer diagnostics, which means a significant increase in salary potential.

Do you know that the average salary for an Automotive Service Technician is $50,000? And that’s not even considering the potential to shine in a position that’s trending towards technology. Those willing to keep up with the latest features on vehicles designed for digitally-oriented consumers will be in high-demand, and their paychecks will reflect this trend.

Myth: Auto repair jobs aren’t in demand.

Reality: The need for Automotive Service Technicians is growing.

Not only is the automotive industry rock-solid, the need for Automotive Service Technicians is growing, with predictions averaging the need for 45,900 new technicians by 2026.

Myth: Auto repair jobs require trade school certifications.

Reality: You can learn on-the-job through a modernized apprenticeship program.

The streamlined nature of modern apprenticeships varies greatly from traditional models. An integrated learning system allows you to complete the program and to obtain an ASE Certification as a full-time employee. Not only is there no cost for the program, you begin earning a competitive wage from the day you start.

Myth: Auto repair jobs are only for new/young workers.

Reality: Specialized opportunities for dislocated workers are strategically designed to make the mid-career transition as quick and seamless as possible.

The AutoMOtive! program is designed to be completed in twelve months, making it an excellent, fast-paced option for a mid-career change. And the experience you gained from your previous career won’t go to waste! Well-developed communication skills, for instance, are highly sought after in a field that relies on building trust.

So what are you waiting for?

Now that you know the facts, click here to learn how you can begin your journey to becoming a certified Automotive Service Technician today!

 

Reinventing Yourself After Being Let Go: Five Reasons to Consider an Automotive Apprenticeship

Reinventing Yourself After Being Let Go: Five Reasons to Consider an Automotive Apprenticeship

You lost your job. Such a simple statement, yet it’s wholly incapable of capturing the overwhelming complexities you’re facing. There’s certainly the loss of income, but there’s also the loss of identity, and of the ability to define yourself based upon the career you’d hoped to have until you retired.

 

Grieving the loss of your job is normal — along with stress, anger, and depression that may follow. And while it’s understandable to feel any or all of these, it’s also a time to consider this less as a loss, and more as a transition. This is a setback, but it’s a temporary one, and accepting the fact that it’s time to consider another path is all part of the process.

 

You’re proud of what you achieved at your previous job, of what you learned, and who you helped. You don’t even want to consider going back to school and starting from scratch, or taking part in a training program that may or may not lead to a full-time position. Either option could also be accompanied by a hefty price tag or considerable debt.

 

But what if there was another way?

 

What if you could switch to a brand new career in a rock-solid industry, and you could do it while getting paid competitive wages from the day you begin?

 

It’s time to consider AutoMOtive!, a partnership between the Missouri Division of Workforce Development and Franklin Apprenticeships for dislocated workers that will put you on the fast track to becoming a certified Automotive Service Technician.

 

Forget what you think you know about apprenticeships. This innovative program offers a host of benefits that begin from the day you start, making it the perfect solution for a mid-career job change. Below are five of these benefits, which are also the reasons why you should consider an automotive apprenticeship: 

 

  1. Earn While You Learn: From the moment you begin, you’ll receive a competitive, full-time wage. You are a full-time employee, and your wages will increase upon successfully completing program milestones.

 

  1. Gain Industry-Recognized Credentials: Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll receive ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) Certification. This competitive and highly-regarded certification provides tangible proof of your technical knowledge, is portable, and serves as a foundation upon which you can build.

 

  1. Grow In-Demand Skills: The automotive industry isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the role of Automotive Service Technician. In fact, as vehicles become more and more sophisticated there is an increasing call for highly trained and skilled professionals — by 2026, it’s estimated that the field will need 46,000 additional technicians.

 

  1. Accelerate Your Career: In a single year, you can become an ASE Certified Automotive Service Technician. AutoMOtive! provides you with hands-on training, classroom training, mentors, and the resources and support you need to successfully complete your apprenticeship and go on to thrive in a highly competitive industry.

 

  1. Remain Debt-Free: What does this cost? Nothing for those eligible for the AutoMOtive! program. All training and support costs are paid for by the employer under which you apprentice.

 

So what are you waiting for? Shift your search for a brand new career into high gear today. Learn more about AutoMOtive! and take your first step into a solid, steady, high-demand profession as an Automotive Service Technician!

Franklin Apprenticeships Signs White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” to Fill Growing Number of Job Openings in Tech Field

Franklin Apprenticeships Signs White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” to Fill Growing Number of Job Openings in Tech Field

On July 30, 2019, Franklin Apprenticeships announced that it has signed the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) White House’s Pledge to America’s Workers.

The Pledge currently has more than 50 CTA members — including previous signatories Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Ford, HP, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Toyota, VISA, and Walmart — that have committed to more than two million new opportunities, almost 30 percent of total pledges. Franklin Apprenticeships has pledged to train 2,500 technology workers.

The consumer tech sector indirectly supports 18.2 million American jobs and almost 12 percent of U.S. GDP. But there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the growing number of job openings in emerging technology sectors including 5G, AI, and Cloud Computing.

According to CTA’s Future of Work survey, tech executives report that software development, data analytics, and engineering are the tech skills in highest demand, with 74 percent of those saying it’s difficult to find candidates with the right skills.

“With workforce development in the tech arena being a critical issue in the U.S., we are honored to be a member of CTA and support its participation in the Pledge to America’s Workers,” said Kimberly Nichols, CEO and Co- Founder, Franklin Apprenticeships. “Apprenticeships are a cost-effective workforce solution that has proven to benefit both businesses and individuals.  As a part of the Pledge, we will prepare workers who are entering the workforce — and those that are underemployed, unemployed, or displaced — for in-demand careers, which will help ensure employers have the skilled labor they need to succeed.” 

Click here to read the full press release, or contact us to learn more about how our digital apprenticeship programs are changing the American workforce.

 

Gearing Up for a Shift in the Automotive Workforce

Gearing Up for a Shift in the Automotive Workforce

We live in a world inundated with technology, so it comes as no surprise that consumers seek similar digital access and advances integrated into their driving experience. These range from the obvious — navigation, entertainment, climate control, and hands-free access — to innovations in safety, performance, and diagnostics.

So much has changed within the automotive industry in such a short period of time. Repair bays — once filled with grease-covered tools and parts — now more closely resemble labs, complete with the advanced (and expensive) equipment needed to repair the increasingly complex array of components that power today’s vehicles.

These rapid advances force us to wonder: does the U.S. have enough qualified professionals ready to keep our automobiles running smoothly?

Labor Shortage

The simple answer is no: we don’t have anywhere near the numbers needed for a robust and specialized automotive workforce, either today or in the immediate future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. will need 46,000 additional automotive service technicians by the year 2026 to keep up with industry needs. There are already as many as 75,000 automotive service technician job openings in any one year. Causes vary, from older workers aging out of the workforce to employees switching jobs to the creation of brand new positions.

Further, Donny Seyfer, Executive Officer of the National Automotive Training Task Force, notes that fewer high schools offer automotive shop programs, further diminishing the potential supply of technicians. And, even when such classes are available, he adds, there is often a disconnect between what they teach and what service departments need.

Attaining Relevant Skills

Assigning young students to tear down an engine or repair a transmission is a bad fit in an industry where the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) estimates that maintenance accounts for 70 percent of a technician’s work, Seyfer adds.

So, whether you are a new worker, or a seasoned worker making a career change, how can you quickly gain the real-world skills necessary to provide exceptional technical service? And, in an industry where the average automotive technician is 40 years old, with 19 years of experience, how can the existing workforce stay current as technology rapidly evolves?

The High Costs of Turnover

The National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2017 Dealership Workforce Study found that the annual turnover rate for the most skilled automotive technicians rose 2.1% in a single year. Some leave for different dealerships, others leave for different industries.

If jobs remain unfilled, losses accrue at an alarming rate: experts estimate that a typical automotive technician brings in an average of $1,000 per day. Consider what that means for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and more. Suddenly filling current vacancies — and retaining current workers — becomes exponentially more critical to your bottom line.

The Road Forward

The road forward for the automotive industry is filled with both intense challenges and remarkable opportunities. A lack of skilled candidates for an increasing number of highly specialized positions calls for an innovative approach to crafting a brand new pipeline for finding, training, and keeping talented automotive service technicians.

Which is why Franklin Apprenticeships is partnering with the State of Missouri to offer Missouri AutoMOtive!, an ingenious solution for accelerating the growth so essential to making the State’s automotive sector thrive.

Modern apprenticeships create opportunities for both employers and employees, offering a fully developed framework for success as candidates earn while learning the very skills and knowledge needed to be a top-notch technician. For Dislocated Workers, in particular, such an approach allows them to hit the ground running: instead of incurring debt for programs that might get them ahead, they begin as paid workers eager to learn and grow into competitive positions that help them — and your business — get ahead.

With AutoMOtive!, Dislocated Workers from industries that have experienced layoffs and downsizing have an opportunity for a new career in the automotive industry, which includes ASE certification and other technical certifications, as well as a mentor and a peer-supported community. Further, program recruitment, placement, training, coaching, and certification costs are subsidized for participating employers.

Let us help you put your search for qualified automotive service technicians in first gear, ensuring your ability to keep everything about today’s technologically advanced vehicles — from music to guidance to safety — running smoothly. Contact us to learn more about Missouri AutoMOtive! today.

 

Where Have All the Women Gone?

Where Have All the Women Gone?

How Apprenticeships Help the IT Industry Attract and Retain Female Talent

For a growing number of women, the tech industry is losing its charm – even though it is one of the highest paying growth industries in America.  More than half the US workforce is women, but only 20% of tech jobs are held by women. And, that number continues to decline. How can the IT industry attract and retain female talent?

Why do we have this growing gender gap? A recent smallbiztrends.com infographic offers insight into the question: Where have all the women gone?

Experts believe that women participate in growth industries when career opportunities & personal interests, economic security & advancement, and financial compensation align. Let’s explore, briefly:

  • Career Opportunities/Personal Interest:

Several factors prevent women from pursuing a tech career. Eleven-year-old girls, once interested in tech careers, soon lose interest.  Experts say lack of female mentors and gender inequality are partially to blame.  And, perhaps unintentionally, many tech companies exercise gender bias and foster a culture that fails to encourage women to consider a career in tech.

  • Economic Security/Advancement:

 NCWIT’s 2016 report on Women in Tech found women are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the high-tech industry. Data suggests that women in the technology industry face more issues of gender inequality compared to the overall population of women in the workforce (and even compared to women who simply work in the technology industry, but who work in non-technical roles such as sales, PR, marketing, and finance, for example).”

  • Financial compensation:

Women who pursue high-paying IT jobs earn less than men. In the United States, women in computer, engineering, and science occupations were paid an estimated 79.2% of men’s annual median earnings in 2016.

Apprenticeships – A Solution Armed to Answer Crititcal US Workforce Issues

As discussed in our post The Growing Technological Skills Gap in the Wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the global shortage in IT talent has jumped from seventh to second position, with nearly 600,000 IT openings in the US alone. As technological disruption advances, this gap will continue to widen. Yet, given that women today hold a lower share of IT positions than they did in 1980, how can IT companies work to attract and retain female talent to help fill the gap? One approach is to address workforce gender diversity issues and increase the number of women willing, interested, and able to enter the industry.

Apprenticeship programs are built to tackle all issues concerning women’s attraction to the IT industry. Yet, recent studies indicate that US apprenticeship programs, overall, lack diversity. While companies often point to diversity as a goal of the programs, the overall picture shows that women make up a small share of apprentices nationwide (7.3% in 2017). And, sadly, studies also indicate that wage discrimination is bleeding into the white-collar apprenticeship market. Females and African Americans are earning less than their peers, and female apprentices in male-dominated professions (such as IT) are being paid less.

Modernized apprenticeship programs represent a tremendous opportunity for the US to alter years of workforce challenges – challenges that erode our country’s ability to compete globally.   We must strive to eradicate inequality in recruitment, compensation, and advancement, and prevent it from bleeding into the US IT apprenticeship model.   Apprenticeship programs must maintain race and gender-neutrality. Recruitment, training, and wage progression models must remain consistent for all cohorts.  Awareness programs supported by educators, employers, and communities must work together to educate young women on the professional values and opportunities the industry offers in a language that makes these jobs appealing to women.

Apprenticeships Help the IT Industry Attract and Retain Female Talent

In an effort to inspire women to achieve their career aspirations and potential at all levels and disciplines within the IT industry, we have developed The Franklin Apprenticeships IT Academy for Women. Employment and gender gaps can be filled by establishing apprenticeship programs serving women who are:

  • Unable to afford secondary education
  • Unconventional learners or school leavers
  • Stuck in dead-end jobs
  • Saddled with college debt, but left with no job prospects
  • Re-entering the job market (Returnees, Veterans, etc.)

And, the 4th Industrial Revolution – because it allows for workers with little or no college education –represents new opportunities for all women. This includes the minority, disadvantaged, and low-skilled female jobseekers.  Together, we can:

  • Educate disadvantaged female cohorts about IT Apprenticeship opportunities
  • Make the transition to IT jobs possible for those whom the educational system has failed
  • Mentor female cohorts with clear paths to equal upward mobility and equal economic mobility

By focusing on an IT apprenticeship initiative specifically for women, we can build employer awareness of apprenticeship programs to:

  • Attract, train, and retain talent
  • Address diversity imbalances
  • Create a future workforce
  • Strengthen the economy
  • Preserve and protect our nation’s competitive position

A long time has passed and yet interests have only moved in one direction: down.  Let’s bring back the charm for women in IT.

Want to find out more about The Franklin Apprenticeships IT Academy for Women, become part of the movement, or learn about how to launch digital apprenticeships programs in your company?  Contact us, here.

 

What’s Happening in the US Apprenticeship Industry?

What’s Happening in the US Apprenticeship Industry?

Coverage of Trump’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion

 

The Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion submitted their final report to the President on May 10, 2018. The task force was initiated in response to President Trump’s June 15, 2017 Executive Order, Expanding Apprenticeships in America, “to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient.”

The Secretary of Labor was chartered to establish a task force in response to the Administration’s recognition that America’s education and workforce programs “are in need of reform in order to meet the challenges of today’s rapidly changing economy, namely the “skills gaps” that result from a workforce that is insufficiently trained to fill existing and newly created jobs.”

Strategies and recommendations were to address the following areas:

  1. Federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships;
  2. Administrative and legislative reforms that would facilitate the formation and success of apprenticeship programs;
  3. The most effective strategies for creating Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships; and
  4. The most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.

Read the final report, here. 

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The task force includes representatives from business, industry, labor, education and public officials, and is co-chaired by the secretaries of labor and education. Task force member and President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges(AACC), Walter G. Bumpus said “AACC and its member colleges are prepared to work with their partners to develop and enhance apprenticeships in order to better serve students and their communities.”

Community College Daily covered the task force examinations in a recent article that discusses the challenges companies, colleges, high schools, labor unions, trade associations and other institutions face.

Read the article, here.

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One of the primary drivers behind apprenticeship program reform is the crippling US college debt. According to the report “The American higher education system is churning out a pool of in-debt job seekers who are not equipped to meet the skills needs of many employers in the modern American economy.”

The report further states that the traditional four-year education model “often is disconnected from business needs and not suited for providing workers the combination of skills and practical work experience that employers value.” And,

“Today, there are over 500,000 technology jobs open, but U.S. colleges and universities produce only 50,000 graduates each year, creating a shortfall in skilled candidates across economic sectors.”

Ouch!  How are college leaders responding?  Read the Inside Higher Ed coverage, here.

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Just for fun: Curious about student debt statics, by geography? Check out a 2017 study, here.

 

Franklin Apprenticeships Beta Launches “AskFranklin”, America’s First National Apprenticeship Job Board

Franklin Apprenticeships Beta Launches “AskFranklin”, America’s First National Apprenticeship Job Board

March 12, 2018 (BALTIMORE, MD) –– In an announcement made today,  Franklin Apprenticeships beta launched “AskFranklin”, America’s first National Apprenticeship Job Board. AskFranklin is the first national apprenticeship job board of its kind that connects employers, aspiring apprentices, and apprenticeship services providers.

In addition to apprenticeship job listings, AskFranklin includes content and videos supporting a modern apprenticeship movement.  Candidates can use tools to better understand their unique strengths and passions.  Then, candidates can align their personal success factors with apprenticeship career opportunities.

Apprenticeships in the U.S. have been expanding slowly, one employer at a time.  Countries with successful apprenticeship systems use national programs and portals to support apprenticeship growth. Using these best practices, AskFranklin provides a central location to help more people understand the value of apprenticeships.  Employers and candidates can easily connect on this new national apprenticeship job board.

The first mover in the US marketplace dedicated to fast tracking and growing a new Apprenticeship Movement, the Franklin Apprenticeships consulting and capacity building services are focused on unlocking the potential for America to regain competitive edge in high growth industries.  Learn more about Franklin Apprenticeships.

Read the full news release here.

New Report Outlines Options for US Apprenticeship Policy Changes

New Report Outlines Options for US Apprenticeship Policy Changes

5 Visionary Recommendations from Industry Experts

Ryan Craig and Tom Bewick are labor market and education experts with a vision. Craig is Managing Director of University Ventures, in addition to being speaker, writer, and analyst on 21st century workforce and education issues.  Bewick is President of the Transatlantic Apprenticeship Exchange forum, co-founder of Franklin Apprenticeships, and former advisor on apprenticeships to the British Government.

Their new co-authored report, Making Apprenticeships Work: 5 Policy Recommendations, comes in response to the Trump Administration’s bold initiative to create an additional 5 million apprenticeships by 2020, and sheds light on how to best leverage the increased federal funding for this lofty goal.  

Craig and Bewick provide a clear assessment of the existing US apprenticeship system, discuss the valuable attributes of model apprenticeship programs in current foreign labor markets, and propose a logical pathway to accelerate a world-class US apprenticeship movement.  

The report provides strong data to support its recommendations, including not only focused input from industry and political thought leaders, but also powerful and specific examples from European countries who have successfully modernized their apprenticeship models.

What are the authors’ 5 recommended policy change visions?

  • Shift the mind-set to digital apprenticeships by bringing emerging and fast-growing industries to the table;
  • Formalize and incentivize the role of apprenticeship service providers;
  • Clarify federal funding for apprenticeship programs;
  • Build apprenticeships at the industry level, rather than one employer at a time; and
  • Encourage the public sector to lead by example by implementing government apprenticeship programs.

The US apprenticeship movement has lagged behind its European counterparts for years. It is time for us to turn around US perceptions, and to consider US policy approaches that can advance program awareness, funding, adoption, execution, and effectiveness.

We need to proactively embrace the vision of a modernized US apprenticeship movement.  Apprenticeships can spur a sustainable, socioeconomic reality shift to help address:

  • Traditional education’s inadequacy to effectively groom tomorrow’s thinkers
  • Outdated workforce planning, recruitment and training methodologies
  • Growing employer concerns about attracting critical 21st century workers
  • Increased levels of student debt

To that end, Craig and Bewick offer this insightful report for policymakers, educators, employers, and communities to carefully examine as a springboard for reflection and discussion.

As Ben Franklin, our firm’s historical mascot, said:

Genius is the ability to hold one’s vision steady until it becomes reality.”

Recent Report Validates Room for US Apprenticeship Expansion

Recent Report Validates Room for US Apprenticeship Expansion

Can Market Facts Change Market Perceptions?

A recently released report from Harvard Business School and Burning Glass Technologies validates the fact that there is opportunity to expand US apprenticeships into new fields of occupations.   Room to Grow, Identifying New Frontiers for Apprenticeships analyzed the Burning Glass job postings data and discovered:

Ø  The number of occupations using apprenticeships could be expanded from 27 to 74;

Ø  The number of job openings filled by apprentices could grow from 410,000 to roughly 3.3 million;

Ø  Many of these new fields pay more than current apprenticeship occupations, with up to a $20,000 salary premium; and,

Ø  Many of these occupations are difficult for employers to fill using current channels.

All of this data comes on the coattails of the Trump Administration’s goal to create 5 million new apprenticeships in the next 5 years.  To meet the 5 year growth objective, the current number of active apprenticeships – 505,371 in the last quarter of 2016 – will need to increase almost tenfold.

The report analyzed the largest concentration of US apprenticeships today (Core Apprenticeship Occupations), and identified two additional groups of occupations (Expanders and Boosters) that fit the apprenticeship model as logical candidates for program expansion.

Clearly, there is significant growth potential in the US apprenticeship system.  Expansion means greater career options for individuals to gain employment, and greater recruitment and training alternatives for employers to develop skills, retain talent, and remain competitive. As such, the challenge for the US to reach its goal should just be a common sense win?  Right?

Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

Many employers lack the willingness to change their current systems; and many parents and young adults lack the awareness to change their current beliefs.   American’s maintain a jaded perception of apprenticeships – one that is outdated and devoid of fact.

Employers: Perception vs. Fact

Perception:  Apprenticeships are expensive.

Fact: In countries where apprenticeship programs are more widespread, apprenticeships have reduced hiring costs by providing a streamlined channel of new talent, have reduced attrition by building a common loyalty between company and employee, have reduced business losses by filling vacancies with skilled labor, and have increased productivity.  In the UK, for instance, 72 percent of businesses report improved productivity as a result of employing an apprentice.

Perception: Apprenticeships are not suited for degree positions.

Fact: According to the study, employers are trapped in “degree inflation.” Many positions that “prefer” or “require” a bachelor degree involve skills that can be accomplished by non-degree workers. While performance metrics cite equal achievement from both degree and non-degree workers, degree workers are shown to have higher salary expectation, higher turnover, and less job satisfaction.  

Apprentice programs scale salaries as skill completion is satisfied, and are known for high retention and job satisfaction.

Perception: A degree candidate will have better soft skills.

Fact:  Payscale surveyed hiring managers and asked them to weigh in on the critical soft skills gaps found in their recent grad talent pool.  Those cited as the top deficiencies include: critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, and writing proficiency.

Apprenticeship programs foster and develop soft skills as a primary course of study. Soft skills, by nature, are situational and best learned in the field, as opposed to the classroom.

Parents and Young Adults: Perception vs. Fact

Perception: Apprenticeships are mostly lower income, trade positions.

Fact:  The study indicated opportunities beyond Core Apprenticeship Occupations for apprenticeship programs in the Expanders (+21) and Boosters (+26) categories, with the Boosters category as the most compelling avenue for middle-class earnings.  Apprenticeships also provide fertile ground for the newly emerging jobs of the 21st century. My post Congressional Bill Announcement: The CHANCE in Tech Act outlines the initiatives underway to help solve the IT skills shortage that we face as a nation.  IT jobs, as example, are known to be high-income level entry opportunities in areas of emerging growth.   

Perception: Apprenticeships are a second rate alternative to the gold standard of a 4 year degree.

Fact: The 4 year degree is no longer the gold standard of education.  Much of today’s college curriculum does not cover areas of study that are required in the emerging job market, and often includes areas of study that are not relevant to career outcomes.

Apprenticeships provide occupational and employer-specific education suited to match the skills employers need to grow and remain competitive.  Apprentices, as they work through a development plan, can also develop a wider variety of skills that can lead to a more fulfilling, successful career.

Perception:  Investment in a college degree will pay off.

Fact: Unfortunately  Accenture Strategy 2016 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study shows underemployment for recent grads is the current reality: 51% of 2014/2015 graduates report working in jobs that do not require their college degree, a steady increase of 10% since 2013. While those numbers keep climbing, so does the average student loan debt. Edvisors reports an average of $35,051— the highest in history.

Apprentices earn while they learn. An apprenticeship also provides a pathway into a career with higher earnings, without the need to incur gobs of debt.  The ability to work with mentors and focus specifically on the job at hand leads to faster advancement into positions with even higher wages.

Yes, there is room for expansion of US apprenticeships. I have only touched on a sampling of the flawed perceptions in the market, today.

Until we can replace outdated perceptions and continue to educate the market with current facts, the American Apprenticeship Movement will remain a challenge.  Thank you, Harvard Business School and Burning Glass Technologies, for taking on this study to help tackle that challenge!

 

The Growing Technological Skills Gap in the Wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Growing Technological Skills Gap in the Wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Are Apprenticeships an Answer?

We have faced three industrial revolutions, and, according to the World Economic Forum, a Fourth Industrial Revolution is imminent. On the coat tails of the Third Industrial Revolution of 1969, which brought us mass production, this next phase is a technological revolution, described as “the advent of ‘cyber-physical systems’ involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines.”

Ushering in this evolution are exciting transformational technologies – artificial intelligence, the ‘Internet of Things’, Big Data, 3D printing – some of which we have already begun to embrace, and others we have yet to fully realize or comprehend.

But with massive labor shortages in critical IT areas, educational systems that have fallen behind the rest of the world, and corporations that have slashed training budgets, are 21st century companies in the US really prepared for this coming revolution?

The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution explores the profoundly shifting landscape. Transformative technologies, creating major disruption to traditional business models, will have “a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labor productivity to widening skills gaps.”

So how can the IT industry – paradoxically at the forefront of digital disruption, yet struggling to fill vital roles in emerging technologies – keep up?

According to The Manpower Group’s 2016/2017 Talent Shortage Survey, the global shortage in IT talent has jumped from seventh to second position, with nearly 600,000 IT openings in the US alone. And, as technological disruption advances, this gap will continue to widen.

One fundamental change necessary to close the widening talent gap is the modernization of an apprenticeship system.  The apprenticeship workforce model — developed following the first industrial revolution — successfully altered attitudes toward training for the most formative industries of that era.   And, it can serve the same purpose, today.

Modernization of the apprenticeship model involves, first and foremost, adjusting perceptions about how we recruit, train, and advance our workers for today, and the future. Progressive IT companies are already thinking and acting differently to reinvent staffing and training practices. Industry leaders are retooling training budgets to accommodate apprenticeship programs, and working directly with secondary educators to develop real-life accredited on the job course curriculums as a proactive means to widen their talent pool.

As we learned from our second and third industrial revolution predecessors, a well-planned and executed apprenticeship program is an opportunity to discover talent in hidden pockets, reduce recruitment costs, and retain teams of loyal employees.  Apprenticeships represented an earn-while-you-learn model that worked to bolster one revolution, and could be the answer to supporting the next one.

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Join the movement. Learn how your company can prepare for the coming revolution. Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.