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June 01, 2022

Apprenticeship Missouri hits goal of 20,000 new apprentices nearly three years ahead of schedule

The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) is excited to announce that Apprenticeship Missouri has surpassed its 2019 goal of serving 20,000 new registered apprentices by 2025. The milestone was met nearly 3 years early thanks to increased efforts with partners and providers throughout the state. Registered Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway in which workers can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a transferable credential while job creators develop and prepare their future workforce.

Since October 2019, Missouri has had 20,285 newly registered apprentices, and 8,140 completed apprenticeships. Missouri currently ranks third in the nation for completed apprenticeships, fourth in the nation for new apprentices, and sixth for active apprentices. Missouri ranks in the top 10 in the nation across four out of five categories for Registered Apprenticeships.

“Reaching this milestone ahead of schedule is a testament to the providers and employers who champion Registered Apprenticeship programs and the integral component of talent attraction and retention,” said Dr. Mardy Leathers, director of workforce development. “The increase in participation shows that Registered Apprenticeship is a viable path to not only fill skills gaps for employers, but it also gives Missourians a chance to learn valuable skills and take steps to further their careers while they earn a paycheck.”

In November 2019, Gov. Mike Parson signed Executive Order 19-20 to officially establish the Missouri Office of Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning within the Office of Workforce Development, under MDHEWD. In conjunction with this announcement, Missouri set a goal to expand apprenticeships, including having 20,000 new apprentices by 2025.

“Thanks to our incredible team at DHEWD and the Office of Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning, we have achieved our goal in record time, but we aren’t stopping,” Governor Mike Parson said. “We appreciate all the employers, providers, and partners who have helped us achieve this success and recognize the immense value of these programs. Apprenticeships provide Missourians with quality skills and good-paying career paths, and we will continue to support and expand these opportunities in our state.”

Efforts to expand and increase quality apprenticeships throughout the state have been underway since the 2019 goal was set. Just this year, in February 2022, the department announced Project Eagle, a Registered Apprenticeship for Missouri National Guard members. In 2021, a department initiative focused on serving more diverse Missourians in workforce programs, including within apprenticeships. Missouri leads the nation in public sector apprenticeships.

Other growth in Apprenticeship Missouri is due to expanding industries and sectors offering apprenticeships, including a new program established in fall 2021, Missouri Industry-Recognized Credentials. Industries supporting apprenticeships include agribusiness, bioscience, construction, education, energy solutions, financial solutions, health sciences and services, hospitality, information technology, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics.

A 2022 initiative to work toward meeting department goals includes an initiative to expand Apprentice Ready programs, first launched in February 2021. A $1 million investment of federal funds was used to create certified pre-apprenticeship opportunities, supporting pathways to Registered Apprenticeships. Expansion of this program is currently underway.

Apprenticeship Missouri has increased its outreach and promotion, providing an Apprenticeship Playbook to help providers and employers understand the steps needed in order to create and implement programs. More than 140 hours of technical support were provided by the Apprenticeship Missouri team from 2020-2021. A partnership with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Apprentice Connect, helps match future apprentices with employers through an online portal. Each year for National Apprenticeship Week, the department hosts an Apprenticeship Summit to share best practices and successes. Thanks to these efforts and more, Missouri was able to meet its goal.

Learn more about Apprenticeship Missouri at https://dhewd.mo.gov/apprenticeship_missouri.php.