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Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Don't Leave Money on the Table

Jun 10, 2021

Student watching employees

In my position, I talk to many decision makers at local organizations here in the midlands area of South Carolina. Right now, their number one pain is almost universal. They cannot find people and the people they have are not sticking around. Even with unemployment numbers up, quality candidates are hard to find, and the competition for them is fierce.

One solution that I have to offer is Registered Apprenticeship programs through the Department of Labor.  It is simple, if the talent that you need is not available, grow your own. Apprenticeship offers interested candidates a pre-built career ladder which can turn a boring job posting into a lit up highway sign for young folks trying to decide where they want their career path to take them. It is also a far more effective way to reach career changers who would love to be in your industry, but do not know what job training they need to become qualified.

This approach is not right for every company. Sometimes an organization does not have the right pieces of information identified to make it work. Occasionally, I find out that companies are much more ready than they realized. In fact, some of them are already doing it. They just are not capitalizing on the real benefits because they did not know they were already doing it.

Apprenticeship has three components: job-related education, on-the-job training, and a graduated pay scale. If you hire employees and provide them training on company policies, how to use your software, how to run your machines, etc… you are doing job-related education. If you allow new hires to learn how to do their daily tasks by working with your more experienced employees and learning hands on, you are doing on-the-job training. If your good hires typically get at least one raise early on, you have a graduated pay scale. If all of the above are true, you have an apprenticeship. You just have not registered it.

Registering your most critical positions brings several benefits. Chief among them are the recruiting and retention advantages that come from advertising a true career path. Another significant benefit is that in SC, there are state business tax credits at stake. Your company can qualify for a credit of $1,000 per apprentice, per year of their apprenticeship. If you are already doing the work, why not get credit for it?

Picture of Jeremy CatoeTo learn more about registered apprenticeship, please reach out to Jeremy Catoe in the Business Solutions Division at Midlands Technical College. He can be reached via email at