America’s workforce is aging. As the baby boomers begin to retire, they will take with them a lifetime of skills and expertise, leaving potential gaps in the labor force and a demand for younger, skilled workers. Meanwhile, to compete in a global economy, employers need employees with increasingly specialized skills, and these employees are hard to find and keep.
A growing shortage of skilled workers, coupled with increased demand, means that industry and the trades will need to work hard to attract and retain qualified candidates. Registered apprenticeships, where employees train under the direction of seasoned journey workers, are one good way that businesses can prepare for the shifting demographics of the workforce.
In contrast to previous generations, today’s workers are accustomed to holding many jobs with many companies and are comfortable jumping from one employer to the next in search of higher wages, better benefits, and more opportunities. Apprenticeships foster loyalty, provide a pathway to family wage jobs and provide employers with a significant return on investment. SEA-LECT Plastics joined the Washington State Apprenticeship Program in 2013, due to the shortage of Mold Makers.