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February 15, 2022 9:51am

Investor Perspective: Harnessing the business power of apprenticeships

This content was provided by Jefferson Community and Technical College

Dubbed by some as “The Great Resignation,” employee retention trends from last year show a dramatic increase in the numbers of people who have or are planning to quit their current job. According to Quantum Workplace, in April 2021, there were four million employees who left their organizations voluntarily. While this statistic poses a serious challenge for businesses, it also presents an important opportunity for companies to look inward to find solutions that meet the needs of today and blaze a trail for an even brighter tomorrow. That’s why for businesses looking to grow in 2022, it’s time to harness the power of mentorship, apprenticeship, and work-based learning.

We are on the heels of what Governor Beshear recently called a year of “record-breaking economic growth,” illustrated by the fact that Kentucky has more than $11 billion — with a ‘b’ — in new economic investments and the Commonwealth is adding over 18,000 full-time jobs in a variety of industries. At Jefferson, we are preparing our students to meet the increased need in these growing fields through apprenticeship style programs like bit502, KYFAME, JeffersonBuilt, Allied Health and Nursing.

Just look at bit502. A partnership between Jefferson, Code Louisville, and the Louisville Tech Alliance, bit502 provides students an opportunity to work, learn, and earn, studying Computer and Information Technologies while working for companies like Texas Roadhouse, General Electric Appliances, WayStar and Louisville Geek. Bit502 employers know what they need, so classes are focused on real world, on the job, transferable learning that participants can use and apply over the arc of their career—benefitting businesses of all types along the way.

But the real power of apprenticeships and work-based learning on businesses small, large and every size in between is lower recruitment and retention costs, as well as the development of a highly skilled workforce that improves productivity, profitability and the bottom line according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, an Urban Institute report, “The Benefits and Challenges of Registered Apprenticeship: The Sponsors’ Perspective” found that 80 percent of U.S. companies said apprenticeship programs helped meet their demand for skilled labor and 94 percent of employers would recommend similar programs to other companies.

Every student has a dream. Every student has the potential to succeed. What every student may not have is a mentor in their chosen career field. However, by harnessing the power of apprenticeships, we can help make students’ dreams a reality and, just as important, build an even bigger business as a result.

So, companies need to take heed. Invest in your future. Invest in apprenticeships and work-based programs. Reap the rewards.

Dr. Telly Sellars is Associate Vice President of Technical Education for Jefferson Community & Technical College