The Illinois Policy Institute and the Project for Middle-Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a study named “The Apprenticeship Alternative: Enrollment, Completion Rates, and Earnings in Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Illinois”. The study was released on Monday by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The study praised union apprenticeship programs as a tuition-free alternative to college. Frank Manzo IV, the co-author and Policy Director at ILEPI, said, “Every year, thousands of Illinois residents enroll in apprenticeship programs as a tuition-free alternative to college.” He added that those programs played a vital role in producing workers.
The apprenticeship programs offer an opportunity for the residents to earn while they learn. The study found that these programs offered more training hours on average as compared to the university or college training hours. The study also found that university graduates earned more over the course of their careers.
The study also focused on the joint labor-management apprenticeships. It found that the joint labor-management apprenticeship programs had higher minority enrollment. Robert Bruno, the co-author of the study and a UIUC professor, said, “Joint labor-management apprenticeships are clearly the best-in-class model.” Bruno added that the joint construction programs provided much better training as compared to any other post-secondary institute.
The total number of apprenticeship enrollment increased by 34 percent since 2011, according to a news release. Most of the apprenticeship programs offered enrollments in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors. Manzo said, “The state’s largest joint labor-management apprenticeship programs are helping more Illinois workers access ladders to the middle class.” The study stated that a registered apprenticeship program was the best alternative to college for the youth of Illinois.