In the U.S., there were nearly 28,000 registered apprenticeship programs, with over 465,000 active apprentices in Fiscal Year 2007. Registered apprenticeship program sponsors are individual employers or groups of employers, sometimes in collaboration with unions, who: develop and run programs; recruit, screen and hire apprentices; and work with state apprenticeship agencies (SAAs) to make sure programs meet state and Federal requirements. To better understand sponsors’ perspectives, the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor commissioned a survey, conducted in 2007, of a random stratified sample of eligible sponsors.
The survey data showed that 97 percent of sponsors are highly satisfied with registered apprenticeship and would recommend it to other businesses. More than 80 percent of sponsors said that they use registered apprenticeship to meet their need for skilled workers. Seventy-two percent said that registered apprenticeship helps them know which workers have needed skills; and 68 percent feel that the model raises productivity, strengthens worker morale, and improves worker safety. However, about a quarter of sponsors viewed apprentices’ failure to complete their apprenticeship program as a significant problem. About 51 percent of sponsors said they would like help in finding and screening applicants, and 41 percent said they would like help in finding related instruction. About one third also identified as important several operational improvements in the registered apprenticeship system, including faster registration of apprentices, a simpler process for setting up a program, and easier multi-state registration. Sponsors generally gave high marks to their SAAs on a variety of factors but indicated their interactions with other parts of the workforce investment system were generally quite limited.