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Want to Set your Business Apart From the Rest? Consider Apprenticeship

One of the most difficult challenges businesses face today is the lack of available and skilled workers to fill roles in key — sometimes even essential — industries. Through “The Great Resignation” and beyond, businesses of all sizes and in all industries have had to get creative about how they are finding employees; the traditional means of posting a job online and getting an influx of applicants is no longer effective for most businesses. Enter apprenticeship.

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While apprenticeships are not a new tactic, they are experiencing a resurgence of sorts. Apprentices earn a wage while getting hands-on experience in a specific position, learning on the job and in a classroom, in what we call “earning and learning.” As a bonus, apprentices have a mentor on the job to support and guide them.

Emily Griffith Technical College, based in Denver, has been working with businesses to offer apprenticeship programs since the College’s inception 106 years ago. The school works with businesses around the state to build and provide education for apprenticeships that fill employer workforce pipelines and meet industry needs. Apprenticeship is a proven pathway to help recruit, train and retain employees at a company.

Apprenticeships used to be solely thought of in conjunction with trade positions, like in the plumbing, construction or electrical fields. Today, apprenticeships can be used in any type of professional job. For example, businesses that need accountants, web designers, project managers, office managers and many others are developing apprenticeships to fill key roles and their employee pipeline.

Because apprenticeships fill a specific business need, they are employer-driven. Businesses identify a gap in their workforce and can partner with a technical college, like Emily Griffith, to create an apprenticeship program. Emily Griffith-sponsored programs are U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL)-approved Registered Apprenticeship Programs. The State of Colorado works with the USDOL to provide important infrastructure and support to apprenticeship programs and apprentices.

In an apprenticeship, the employer determines all aspects of the program including what the apprentice will learn and what they will be proficient in at the end of the program. The employer also identifies the educational components needed to fulfill the program, although Emily Griffith often works with employers to determine content. At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice earns a certificate from the Department of Labor showcasing completion, as well as other industry-recognized credentials incorporated into the program.

Technical colleges sometimes get the proverbial “cold shoulder” when compared to a two- or four-year college. But keep in mind that the goal of a technical college is to get people through a given program and on to their career in a shorter span than a two- or four-year college. Some apprenticeship programs take just one year to complete.

On the educational side, Emily Griffith helps students develop skills, at entry level or above, for the specific industry where they are placed. This alone is a key component to help fill employee pipelines. Many businesses can’t wait two or four years for someone to learn a skill and graduate, and even then, the person may not have any real-world experience. Emily Griffith apprentices are working consistently, as they progress through their program, and graduating in a shorter time span, ready to enter the workforce with the skills the industry needs.

Not only does apprenticeship help businesses gain new employees, but it is a substantial, under-the-radar way for employers to enhance their company culture. Apprenticeship gets new people in the door at the company, and shows that the company is dedicated to investing in their employees by providing educational and on-the-job mentoring.

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So how can a business set up an apprenticeship program? If you are struggling to hire the right people for your company, consider apprenticeship. Working as a team, we can set up a program in just three months, getting new people into your company shortly after.

Apprenticeships are the perfect way for businesses and industries of all kinds to train and hire new employees during a time when hiring continues to be a challenge. Consider creating an apprenticeship program to help fill gaps in your own business and you’ll surely experience the rewards of doing so.


Kelsey GlassKelsey Glass is the Dean of Apprenticeship at Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver, Colo. She creates sustainable pipelines to help people be successful, working directly with industries to see where there are growth opportunities and where there is a supply/demand gap that Emily Griffith can help fulfill.