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Beyond Productivity: How Employers Gain More from Apprenticeship: Findings from the American Apprenticeship Initiative Evaluation (Issue Brief)

Release Date

Oct 26, 2022

Publication Author(s)

  • Abt Associates
  • Urban Institute
  • Daniel Kuehn
  • John Marotta
  • Myca San Miguel
  • Robert Lerman

Research Methodology

  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Quantitative Analysis


  • American Job Centers
  • Apprenticeship
  • Employers
  • H1-B Grant Programs
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Core and Discretionary Prog

States & Territories

  • All 50 states and three territories


ETA launched the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) in October 2015 and provided five-year grants to 46 grantees to expand registered apprenticeship into new sectors and to populations historically underrepresented in apprenticeships. Some AAI grantees received no-cost extensions of their periods of performance through September 2021. In April 2016, ETA commissioned an evaluation of the AAI to build evidence about the effectiveness of registered apprenticeship for apprentices and employers. The evaluation included four sub-studies (an implementation study, an outcomes study, an employer return-on-investment (ROI) study, and an assessment of a demonstration to encourage employers to adopt apprenticeship). Three reports comprised the implementation sub-study. In addition to the sub-study reports, the AAI Evaluation included five topical issue briefs.

Typically, calculations of apprenticeship benefits focus solely on direct monetary benefits. This brief examines in detail a range of indirect benefits, beyond the dollar value of the apprentices’ productivity, that are estimated using information reported by 68 AAI-affiliated employers on the AAI Employer Survey. Nearly all employers (99 percent) responding to the survey reported experiencing one or more indirect benefits. Most (84 percent) rated at least one of the ten indirect benefits listed in the survey as at least as valuable as direct benefits or the increases in apprentice’s productivity. Nearly all employers (96 percent) cited improved company culture as a benefit. More than 90 percent of employers reported their apprenticeship programs led to improvements in their talent pipelines and increased employee loyalty. More than a quarter (28 percent) of employers reported experiencing all 10 indirect benefits the survey asked about. However, at least a quarter of employers surveyed experienced no indirect benefits associated with the development of future managers, reduced overtime, reduced downtime, and on-time delivery.

Final Report

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