Apprenticeships for America (AFA)

Last Updated: 05/21/2024

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Founded March 2022, Apprenticeships for America (AFA) is a nonprofit organization aimed at helping the United States bring registered apprenticeships to the scale experienced by other advanced economies, such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The AFA has a multi-pronged strategy for building a robust, sustainable apprenticeship system that includes research, advocacy, and grassroots mobilization to:

Create the American Apprenticeship Network (AAN) to enhance collaboration among intermediaries, employers, service providers, schools, and other apprenticeship sponsors, labor representatives, and researchers. The organization is focused on strengthening the role of intermediaries such as unions, business services companies, industry associations, staffing companies, nonprofits, and government agencies, which has been demonstrated in other countries to have the potential to organize and sell apprenticeship programs to employers.

Play a lead role in unleashing the potential of registered apprenticeships to significantly widen access to rewarding careers and benefit millions of American workers.

The AFA was founded to respond to the challenges facing a strained and overburdened U.S. labor market. The record 11 million unfilled jobs reflects a growing skills mismatch, despite rising college attendance and graduation rates over the last decade. The U.S. education and training system is not up to the task of ensuring that all workers gain the skills employers are seeking. Too many students fall short in pursuing degrees yet end up with excessive student debt. The “academic only” emphasis of schooling often fails those who learn best by doing. Employers in turn are frustrated with the dearth of candidates with the relevant occupational and employability skills, yet too few employers provide the work-based learning vital to achieving a skilled workforce.

The apprenticeship model, in which mostly early-career workers receive training alongside the benefits of full-time employees, is recognized worldwide as the most cost-effective approach to equipping individuals, especially young people, with the technical skills and training required to transition successfully into long-term skilled careers. Yet, in comparison with major industrial economies, registered apprenticeship programs are underutilized by U.S. employers. Despite increases over the past generation, U.S. apprenticeships are only one-eighth the level of peer countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

The leadership team of the AFA includes former U.S. Department of Labor officials, state policymakers, researchers, and industry leaders.

Resources

AFA Resources

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