Published September 12, 2014

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, although there is federal and state attention being placed on building apprenticeship programs to fill the skills gaps, it is off to a slow start. According to my research, 87% are experiencing skills gaps. Why not consider options to address?

So far, the vast majority of companies who have signed up are from overseas, especially German companies. Germany has had long-term success in creating apprenticeship programs, and it’s lowest unemployment levels for young professionals of any advanced country speaks to its success. However, there is a stigma in the U.S. that those who sign up for these programs did poor in high school. Undoubtedly it is a great strategy experiencing a branding problem! Luckily, we each can have a significant impact in our own organization. Consider starting an apprentice program if you’d like to leapfrog your competition by having the “right skills” in the “right place” at the “right time”.

One tip to implement this week: Although partnering with community colleges to create an apprenticeship program is worth pursuing rapidly, it isn’t something you could complete this week. Thus, START the process as you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get ahead of the pack in terms of the skills gap. Next, think about how you can leverage this apprenticeship model on a small scale this week at your company. Can you pair up your long-term skilled employees with your newer/younger employees and find a way to make it a win-win for both? Just this morning, I talked to a STAR employee who is extremely loyal – a small investment in her success goes a long way to creating that loyalty.