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Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Nov. 2, 2015

Apprenticeship expanding in Minnesota

Number of active apprentices surges 59 percent statewide during past four years

Minnesotans are participating in registered apprenticeship programs in greater numbers today than four years ago. Since 2011, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of businesses sponsoring apprenticeship programs while the number of actively enrolled apprentices rose by 59 percent.

The economic recovery, demographic trends and an increased need for skilled labor are driving more businesses to establish apprenticeship programs and register them with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI).

Registered apprenticeship is employer-driven and combines on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction to develop skilled and safe employees.

Currently, there are more than 11,000 registered apprentices. Three-fourths of these apprentices are in the construction trades, which have a long history of providing high-quality career development through registered apprenticeship.

DLI expects the number of apprentices to increase even further in the next five years, due in part to a $5M U.S. Department of Labor grant to expand Minnesota apprenticeship programs in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services, information technology and transportation industries.

"Apprenticeship is a great model employers can use to develop a highly trained, skilled and motivated workforce," said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. "Apprenticeship not only helps businesses be successful, it also offers employees an opportunity to develop their skills and climb into the middle class.

Increase in woman and minority apprentices
Apprenticeship is helping Minnesota address its workforce disparity gap between whites and communities of color in education and employment. In the past four years, Minnesota's apprenticeship employers and the state's construction labor unions have focused on outreach and recruiting women and minorities.

These efforts have resulted in the number of apprentices who are women and minorities rising from 17 percent in 2011 to 27 percent in 2015.

"Apprenticeship can help close our state's alarming employment disparities," Peterson said. "Through partnerships with businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations many more Minnesotans can have the skills needed for work in the 21st century."

More than 12,200 Minnesota workers have successfully completed apprenticeships since 2005 -- nearly 5,000 in the past four years. These graduating apprentices earn a credential that is nationally recognized and highly valued in their industry.

Minnesota apprenticeship success stories
Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed the week of Nov. 2 through 8, 2015, as "Apprenticeship Week" in Minnesota. Members of the state's apprenticeship community will share their success stories about apprenticeship and invite businesses, community-based organizations, students and workers to learn more about the advantages of developing careers through adoption of the apprenticeship model. Learn more at www.dli.mn.gov/APPR/Week.asp.


News media contact:
James Honerman
(651) 284-5313

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