Supporters of federally supp orted registered apprenticeship programs say the prescribed standards help ensure safety, which
translates into fewer injuries and reduced
workers’ compensation costs. Furthermore,
backers say, apprentices receive qu ality instruction, learn recognized skill sets and commit
fewer errors while boosting productivity.
“The apprenticeship training enables
[apprentices] to do their work faster, because
they learn more skills,” says Coaty Frank,
Shreve/McGonegal manager of operations,
and a Costco member. “They are also more
adaptable when they encounter new situations. And we don’t seem to have as many call-backs from customers.”
According to the American Apprenticeship Round Table (AART; http:users.zoominter
net.net/~jandd/gary’sweb/ index.htm), hiring
apprentices makes abundant business sense.
The AART, formed in 1943 and comprising
representatives of companies from mulitple
industries with well-established apprentice
programs, estimates that for every dollar
invested, on average, there is approximately a
$3 return, over the life of an apprentice.
Advocates suggest apprentices demonstrate
more loyalty, thus shrinking costly turnover.
“Companies in our program tell us they
have lower turnover,” agrees Tom Mason, who
heads the construction trades apprenticeship
program at Santa Fe Community College in
Gainesville, Florida. Participating firms pay
fees to a builders association, which sponsors
the apprenticeship program; association
members teach the apprentices at Santa Fe.
But apprenticeships also present challenges. There’s no guarantee that apprentices
will remain with a firm after completing the
program; in fact, they could hop to a competitor or start their own company.
Then there’s the cost and time. When
classroom instruction is involved, many, if not
most, employers pay a portion or all of an
apprentice’s expenses. Companies must also
take into account the less productive time
mentors spend teaching apprentices.
But overall, most agree apprenticeships
are a solid investment. Apprentices such as Ty
Tran prize their employers. “I feel like the
company cares, because it’s investing time
and money in me,” he says. C
Harvey Meyer is a St. Louis Park, Minnesota,
Windows Vista® Home Premium
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