Iowans are endorsing a longstanding earn-as-you-learn job training method in record numbers, making this state a national leader in building new registered apprenticeships.

Federal officials are expected to soon report record growth in the number of new apprenticeship programs – part of what Iowa leaders describe as a growing recognition in our state that the apprenticeship process works.

“Employers use Registered Apprenticeship programs to build a steady pipeline of skilled workers, while young Iowans get the chance to launch into promising new careers without incurring massive amounts of student debt,” said Kris Byam, Registered Apprenticeship Bureau Chief at Iowa Workforce Development. “These programs are a win-win-win for many communities – especially in rural Iowa, where small towns sometimes struggle to keep their young people from leaving the area.”

Iowa for years has offered strong support for Registered Apprenticeship programs. This year, the state added an additional $50 million in support for new high-demand career pathways starting at the high school level, including an innovative Health Careers RA program and a first-in-the-nation Teacher/Paraeducator RA program.

“While Iowa has always been a leader for creating Registered Apprenticeship programs, the recent increase in participants demonstrates the need for new and innovative training programs coming out of the pandemic,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Registered Apprenticeships provide Iowans with a good living while they increase their skillset as well as creating skilled workers who predominately stay with the employer that trained them.”

Next month, Iowa will mark National Apprenticeship Week (November 14-20) to highlight the strong value that apprenticeships are bringing to high school students, adults, and employers.

Watch IWD’s Mission: Employable Facebook page for more information about the events that will be taking place to celebrate around the state.