Can an Apprenticeship Network Fill US Skills Gap?

Research by Dr. Johann Fortwengel, of King’s College, found that it’s costly and complex for firms to run their own apprentice programs and suggests an apprenticeship network approach.  

Adrienne M. Selko | Oct 17, 2019

For as long as I have been interviewing companies about using apprenticeships to help close the skill gap, the discussion invariably includes the question of adapting the successful German model to the U.S. workforce.

This very topic was the subject of a recent conference, The International Skills Conference, hosted by the German American Chambers of Commerce, and held in Atlanta on Sept. 25. The conference brought together champions in apprenticeship programs, modeled after the German system, with businesses, regional and state leaders who are interested in solutions for small and middle-sized employers in order to fill the 2.4 million jobs in advanced manufacturing that will be needed by 2030.

Dr. Johann Fortwengel, who is a senior lecturer in International Management, King’s Business School, King’s College London, spoke at the conference on his research in which he studied the pros and cons of collaborating with other organizations to offer apprenticeships in a network, and how this collaboration can be managed for improved efficiency.

His research found that as it’s both costly and complex for firms to run their own apprentice programs increasingly firms are interested in collaborating with each other and partners like community colleges to create apprentice schemes. 

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