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@NataliePregibon

On March 17, 2014, Peter Smirniotopoulos, founder and principal of petersgroup consulting and a contributor to The Huffington Post, and Natalie Pregibon, Director of P3 Intelligence published a Huffington Post article entitled, What Can Be Done to Shrink the Skills Gap?” The article is the last in a series of three about the U.S. economy, the job readiness of the country’s labor force, and strategies to address the skills gap that keeps existing jobs from being filled.

The below graphs support the authors’ contentions in their Huffington Post article regarding potential short-term and long-term strategies for shrinking the skills gap.

Read the full article here

The number of active apprentices in the U.S. has declined over the past decade. While in 2010 the number of new apprentices began to increase, the gain was not enough to return the total number of apprentices to the levels of the early 2000s.

chart_1Source: USDOL – Employment and Training Administration

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Source: USDOL – Employment and Training Administration

The number of active apprenticeship programs has similarly decline over the past decade, suggesting a decreased business interest in sponsoring apprentices.

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Source: USDOL – Employment and Training Administration

However, there are spikes in the number of new programs being implemented, which suggests a willingness to try apprenticeship programs.

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Source: USDOL – Employment and Training Administration

In the U.S., apprenticeships continue to exist primarily in “traditional” sectors, like construction. This contributes to the misconception that the term apprenticeship is synonymous with low-paying, low-skill employment.

Top 10 Occupations for Fiscal Year 2013

Occupation

Active Apprentices

Electrician

36,237

Carpenter

13,685

Plumber

12,116

Pipe Fitter

8,665

Construction Craft Laborer

7,901

Sheet Metal Worker

7,101

Roofer

5,285

Structural Steel/Ironworker

4,651

Painter

3,254

Pipe Fitter (Sprinkler Fitter)

3,052

 

Source: USDOL – Employment and Training Administration

In 2009, the U.S. had approximately 408,000 active apprentices. While this number appears substantial, it represents less than 1 percent of the labor force for that year. The below graph shows how the U.S. compares to other countries in terms of apprentices (according to national definitions).

chart_5

Source: European Commission; World Bank

The number of students enrolled in public, 2-year institutions (as a percent of total public enrollment) has increased since the 1970s, but has remained relatively constant over the past few decades.

chart_7s

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The U.S. has experienced a decline (albeit bumpy) in the percentage of employed persons who are working full-time versus part-time.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics