NGA White Paper Highlights Gubernatorial Initiatives on Youth Apprenticeship

Governors are taking steps to promote and expand youth apprenticeship opportunities in their states, recognizing the increasing importance of postsecondary or industry-recognized credentials for to help high-school graduates succeed in their careers, according to a new white paper from the National Governors Association (NGA).

The white paper highlighted examples from Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland and North Carolina of governors leveraging youth apprenticeship to connect more young people to career paths at an earlier age while filling unmet talent needs for growing businesses.

The paper noted that youth apprenticeship programs, which typically function as a partnership across employers, high schools and postsecondary institutions, can play a key role in helping young people without college degrees find fulfilling careers. The paper noted that at least two out of three jobs require some training beyond high school, and that adults with a workforce credential but no college degree are almost 10 percent more likely to be employed than their peers with no postsecondary credential, according to Strada Education Network.

Policy analysts from the NGA Center for Best Practices cited three ways in which governors are working to expand youth apprenticeship programs:

  • Acting as a public champion by setting a statewide vision and convening stakeholders to collaboratively implement that vision;
  • Allocating and leveraging dedicated funding to start and grow programs that support youth apprentices and guide them through their career pathways; and
  • Implementing policies that provide long-term support for high-quality youth apprenticeship programs.

“Governors recognize that high-quality youth apprenticeship opportunities are critical to preparing young people for the careers of the future,” said Martin Simon, Economic Opportunity division director for the NGA Center for Best Practices. “Through this white paper and our work with the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, we are helping to share information and actionable, scalable plans that governors and other state leaders can advance to address the skills gap and secure a bright future for all of the people of their states.”

Led by New America, PAYA in 2018 launched a multi-year collaborative initiative that supports efforts in states and cities to expand access to high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for more high school youth. In a December 2017 report, New America noted that despite bipartisan support for expanding apprenticeship, there were only a half million apprentices in the United States at the time, and that most of those were adults within construction and the skilled trades rather than white-collar occupations.

The NGA white paper highlighted four case studies of governors in Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland and North Carolina taking actions to expand youth apprenticeship to reach a greater number of students across industry sectors. As a result of this support, often spanning multiple administrations, these states have a growing number of businesses and young people taking advantage of this workforce strategy.