Workforce Development

Apprenticeship: Completion and Cancellation in the Building Trades

October 21, 2013  • Matt Helmer & Dave Altstadt

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From 2011 to 2012, the Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative conducted research into the experiences of construction apprentices.  As one of our nation’s strongest training models, apprenticeship provides individuals the unique opportunity to work and develop their skills at the same time through a mix of paid on-the-job training and classroom instruction.  This “earn and learn” model has helped many working Americans go on to well-paying careers in the construction industry, and helped many businesses obtain the skilled workers they need to succeed.  Apprenticeship, however, is a long-term program and some individuals struggle to complete their programs.  In this report, AspenWSI examines completion and cancellation rates in construction apprenticeship, the challenges apprentices experience in completing their programs, and strategies that are being used to support the success of these individuals.   The report is based on national and state level analysis of apprenticeship completion rates and dozens of interviews and focus groups with apprentices, journey workers, union representatives, construction contractors, pre-apprenticeship programs leaders, and other stakeholders in the industry.  This report and research were supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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