SLO Partners, part of the SLO County Office of Education and a leading provider of career upskilling and modern apprenticeship programs in California, recently released survey results on the impact of its apprenticeship programs for National Apprenticeship week (Nov 15-21). Among the key findings: average apprentice earnings rose by 34 percent after taking a SLO Partners bootcamp and the average salary increased by $12,515. 

The pandemic has disrupted the labor market in many ways. According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, more than half of low-wage workers may need to shift to occupations in higher wage brackets, with a need to acquire different and more advanced skills to remain employed and stay relevant on the market. COVID-19 has also given rise to the ‘Great Resignation’, which has seen millions of Americans quit their jobs to pursue their passions. 

The results highlight the significant role apprenticeships are playing to help people get back to work, jumpstart new careers and transition into different industries. “I was able to get access to higher paying work, more job options and more career paths,” said Cody, K., a former Copier Service Technician. “I’m now thinking about pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. I’m not sure I would have gone down that path if it wasn’t for the program.”

“Retraining is at the heart of the recovery,” said Paula Mathias-Fryer, Director at SLO Partners. “Apprenticeship programs in particular are shorter and more affordable than traditional career paths. They’re proving to be an attractive option to candidates looking to upskill, gain access to different career paths and future-proof their livelihoods.”

The shifting labor market can also benefit businesses if they take the right approach to recruiting. “There are a lot of hiring opportunities out there, but businesses need to think outside of their regular recruiting and hiring practices,” continued Mathias-Fryer. “People are hungry and passionate about doing the work you’re hiring for – you just have to find them. Employers should consider talking with training programs such as bootcamps to build a talent pipeline of graduates. The bulk of their experience may be in a different industry but they’re likely to possess the coveted soft skills of drive, passion and a positive attitude. Hiring candidates with experience in different sectors can also add fresh perspectives and diversity  to the team.”  

Additional responses from the survey

“Through this program I was finally able to enter a career path with benefits and long term growth potential.” -Michaela K., Composites Technician (former cashier)

“I have learned so many more new things at my new job. I get to do something new every day, all within the realm of building and engineering. Circuitry, soldering, manufacturing, and processing, just to name a few.” -Elizabeth M., SMT Operator (former barista)

“The training has allowed me to enter a more stable industry with better potential career earnings.” -Nicholas R, Software Engineer (former biologist)

“I’ve never worked in the cyber field before, the training has definitely changed my career; it’s a complete 180 from anything I’ve ever done and I rely heavily on what I learned.” -Melody, IT Service Technician (former receptionist)