National Apprenticeship Week! #NAW2021

Monday, November 15 kicked off National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) with the purpose of celebrating the success of apprenticeships and getting more employers to offer this time-tested program used by employers around the world in a variety of industries and occupations. Since 2011, there has been 70 % growth of new apprentices. However, the number of apprentices in the U.S. is still only 636,000. Is this because apprenticeships aren’t producing stellar results for the employers or the apprentice isn’t learning and being productive? Data suggests that is not the case as surveys show close to universal support for the programs. So we next ask, is there an inherent problem in getting buy-in with employers? Conversations with workforce professionals about a lack of enthusiasm for this tested talent development tool suggests that one of the biggest impediments to apprenticeships is HR.

Over the last year, as the manager for the SHRM HR Registered Apprenticeship Program, I’ve learned a lot of things about HR professionals.

• You have spent the last 20 months keeping your organization’s HR system operating.

• As a senior leader in your organization, you are dedicated to finding the right talent for your organization and to seeing that talent flourish.

• You want HR tools that are tested, validated and deliver on the promises made.

• You are determined to meet or exceed your organization’s DE&I goals

• You recognize your value to your employees and to the organization’s bottom line.

These attributes serve you well as you manage and service both internal and external stakeholders, often on a very personal basis. Many of you remain challenged by the skills gap, and now also face the challenges of the “Great Resignation.” Introducing a new system into your organization that may require an adjustment for both you and your hiring managers may seem a bit overwhelming. Yet, that’s exactly the step we’d like you to take. Apprenticeships are a proven talent development tool that can help you meet many of your current staffing needs.

Let’s review a few highlights:

Apprenticeships can be used in every industry for a variety of occupations.

Apprenticeship’s success in the trades is being mirrored where the employer values training and develops a work-based learning and education plan.

Apprenticeships are customized to the need of the employer. Registered apprenticeship programs have set standards that assure the training is consistent and sufficient and allow the employer to customize the learning to meet their needs. 

Apprenticeships expand the talent pool. By providing all the training to become proficient at an occupation, employers can hire those with the aptitude for the skills. Degree and previous experience requirements are not needed allowing untapped talent/underserved populations to be considered.

Apprenticeships have a positive ROI. Apprentices, when properly trained, produce at a high level, have good retention rates, and are working at lower salary levels. Additionally, tax incentives and other training dollars may also be available to the employer, lowering the cost of hiring an apprentice.

Now you have a chance to show all those who say HR can never try anything new that you can, by hiring an apprentice in HR. The SHRM Foundation is offering the HR Registered Apprenticeship Program, an 18-24-month program based on the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge that leads to the apprentice taking the SHRM-CP. We know you need a new way of getting HR talent and now you can use the HR RAP to conquer that challenge.

Adopting an apprenticeship program meets all your criteria for managing your HR responsibilities.

Find out how to get started at



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