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. 


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.


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.


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


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