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U.S. Employers Who Train Apprentices - Return on Investment Study

Author: Case Western Reserve University : Contact: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Published: 2015-10-21

Synopsis and Key Points:

Research to determine the return on investment for employers who establish registered apprenticeships.

Main Digest

Case Western Reserve University will be at the forefront of collaborative research to determine the return on investment for employers who establish registered apprenticeships. The goal is to quantify the benefit to employers in the United States.

Weatherhead School of Management Economics Professor Susan Helper will play a lead role on a team that began developing the research the past two years, while Helper was on leave from Case Western Reserve to serve as chief economist at the Commerce Department. The previous year she served on President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

At a recent White House Apprenticeship Summit, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the Joyce Foundation, JPMorgan Chase and the Annie E. Casey Foundation will support the research, involving economists from Case Western Reserve, Stanford University and the Commerce Department.

"As far as we know, there has been no study of the return to U.S. employers of investing in apprenticeship," said Helper, the Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics at Weatherhead School of Management. "Given the renewed interest in the learn-while-they-earn apprenticeship model, it is important to fill this gap."

The study will analyze diverse sectors and geography to provide needed data on employer benefits and costs.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, registered apprenticeships meet national standards for registration with the Labor Department's Office of Apprenticeship or federally recognized state apprenticeship agencies. A registered apprentice earns a nationally recognized credential from the Labor Department. The Commerce Department's Skills for Business initiative is about preparing workers for jobs of the future.

The study will gather data to help employers understand if investing in registered apprenticeships can boost the bottom line, while helping the nation prosper. Researchers will make visits to companies and hold conversations with workers and managers. U.S. employers who sponsor registered apprentices generally do so to build a pipeline of skilled workers, boost retention, reduce recruiting costs and improve productivity.

President Obama recently announced that $175 million in American Apprenticeship Grants will help train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries over the next five years.

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