Should we bring back apprenticeships?

Date posted: January 6, 2014

Host Mary Walden remembers the father of her husband, N.C. State University economist Mike Walden, talking about coming home from World War II and becoming a carpentry apprentice. The economist discusses a revival in apprenticeship programs in different areas of the country.

“When we look around the country, we do see that in different states. We are hearing people talk more about apprenticeshipon programs. If you look at trends in apprenticeship programs, they have gone down. About half the number of people today are in apprentice programs than were less than a decade ago.

“But if you look at a state like South Carolina, they’ve actually implemented a new program … where the auto companies are training individuals out of high school to work in those auto factories. Now the state is supporting this with state tax credits.

“And many economists say that really this could be a program that we ought to bring back, because if you look at the kinds of jobs that are being created, some predict actually a big shortage for jobs that we would call technical — are like carpentry, plumbers, machinists, welders, machine operators, et cetera.

“So this could be a way to both train people for those needed jobs, as well as to reduce the unemployment rate. So something that was done 70 years ago may be making a comeback in the labor market.”

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