The Council of State Governments Center of Innovation recently responded to a research request on rural apprenticeship programs in Maine. The findings of this request are available below.
Registered Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway proven to benefit both workers and employers. Registered Apprenticeship programs consist of supervised, on-the-job training related technical instruction to supplement experiential learning and the acquisition of an industry-recognized credential. Apprenticeship programs can increase worker retention rates for employers and overall lifetime earnings for apprentices. However, these programs are often inaccessible to learners in rural communities.
Long distances between home and work, a lack of transportation options and inadequate internet access to connect to related instruction are just a few factors that can limit the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship programs in rural communities. Additionally, smaller employers operating in rural communities may lack the capacity to manage the administrative responsibilities of apprenticeship programs. As a result, rural learners often miss out on the benefits of apprenticeship like mentorship and a progressive wage scale. In return, employers lose the opportunity to train and retain their own workforce.
Rural learners often miss out on the benefits of apprenticeship
Maine has made strides in promoting apprenticeship as a workforce development tool in rural communities. Based on the U.S. Census Bureau definitions of urban and rural areas, Registered Apprenticeship programs exist in 10 of 11 of Maine’s rural counties. Across these 10 counties, there are 33 sponsors of 64 Registered Apprenticeship programs. The rural county with the most apprenticeships is Sagadahoc, with seven sponsors of 27 apprenticeship programs. The rural county with the second-highest number of apprenticeships is Somerset with 12.