Youth apprenticeship programs provide high school students with professional opportunities that combine academic and on-the-job training and mentorship. Apprenticeships include classroom-based vocational education in a high school or technical college setting that is related to paid on-the-job work and connects participants to instructors who also act as mentors. Youth apprenticeships are offered in a variety of fields. Training requirements and applicable government or industry-recognized standards vary by field1, 2. Most formalized apprenticeships in the United States serve adults who have graduated from high school, often through Registered Apprenticeship programs3.
Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)
Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes
Improved social emotional skills
Evidence of Effectiveness
Youth apprenticeship programs are a suggested strategy to increase employment and gain employment skills4, 5, 6, particularly for disconnected youth7. Assessments of apprenticeship-like programs for high risk juvenile offenders suggest increases in youth employment and GED attendance8. After school apprenticeship-like programs that introduce disadvantaged high school students to trades or other careers may improve social and emotional development9, and promote alternatives to violence and paths out of poverty1. Countries with strong apprenticeship programs have lower youth unemployment rates than countries without strong programs6, and participation in Registered Apprenticeships appears to lead to increases in lifetime earnings7, 10. However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects of youth apprenticeship programs.
Impact on Disparities
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1 Bulanda 2015* - Bulanda JJ, Tellis D, Tyson McCrea K. Cocreating a social work apprenticeship with disadvantaged African American youth: A best-practices after-school curriculum. Smith College Studies in Social Work. 2015;85(3):285-310.
2 Abell-Lerman 2015 - Lerman RI, Packer A. Youth apprenticeship: A hopeful approach for improving outcomes for Baltimore youth. The Abell Report. 2015;28(2).
3 Eichorst 2015* - Eichhorst W, Rodriguez-Planas N, Schmidl R, Zimmermann KF. A road map to vocational education and training in industrialized countries. ILR Review. 2015;68(2):314-337.
4 Hamilton-Lerman 2014 - Lerman R. Expanding apprenticeship opportunities in the United States. The Hamilton Project; 2014.
5 PIIE-Aivazova 2013 - Aivazova N. Role of apprenticeships in combating youth unemployment in Europe and the United States. Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE); 2013.
6 OECD-Sonnet 2010 - OECD. Off to a good start? Jobs for youth. OECD Publishing; 2010.
7 Upjohn-Hollenbeck 2008* - Hollenbeck K. State use of workforce system net impact estimates and rates of return. Kalamazoo: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; 2008.
8 Schaeffer 2014 - Schaeffer CM, Henggeler SW, Ford JD, et al. RCT of a promising vocational/employment program for high-risk juvenile offenders. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 2014;46(2):134-143.
9 Halpern 2006* - Halpern R. After-school matters in Chicago: Apprenticeship as a model for youth programming. Youth & Society. 2006;38(2):203-35.
10 Mathematica-Reed 2012 - Reed D, Liu AYH, Kleinman R, et al. An effectiveness assessment and cost-benefit analysis of registered apprenticeship in 10 states. Oakland, CA: Mathematica Policy Research; 2012.
11 Urban-Karas 2016 - Karas A, Lerman RI. Implementing financial education in youth apprenticeship programs. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute; 2016.
12 IZA-Lerman 2013 - Lerman RI. Skill development in middle level occupations: The role of apprenticeship training. Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); 2013.
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