Research Shows Public Sector Apprenticeships Can Create Pathways for Economic Mobility and Racial Equity

two women of color working at a conference table on laptops

Recent research published by the Urban Institute and featured on WeRise noted how Public Sector Apprenticeships provide value to employers, job seekers, and the broader economy.

Recruitment and retention are major challenges for all employers and those in the public sector are no exception. A strong Public Sector Apprenticeship program creates a pipeline of new employees for state and local governments. However, one additional benefit that may not initially be clear is the opportunity Public Sector Apprenticeships offer to create pathways for economic mobility and racial equity.

Apprenticeship opens access to careers for those who might not have such opportunities otherwise. First, apprenticeship emphasizes learning by doing, with more hours spent on-the-job than in the classroom. Second, apprentices do not need credentials because they are trained on-the-job—advantageous to those who learn best by doing. Third, those for whom a college degree is out of reach financially may earn university credits through their apprenticeship training that are reimbursed by employers. Finally, apprentices earn income while they train, which is critical to help people meet basic needs while investing in their future.

Public sector jobs have historically been stable with family-sustaining wages and benefits and flexibility that exceed offerings in the private sectorGovernment has also historically been a major employer of Black workers, and many government hiring managers work to ensure the demographics of those employed by local government reflect the residents it serves. Apprenticeships in local and state government can offer long-term career trajectories and meaningful training that promote the economic mobility of apprentices and their families.

Maryland is seeking to boost its Public Sector Apprenticeship programs and increase participation by county and municipal governments. At the Summer 2021 MACo Conference, an expert panel will brief attendees on State efforts, as well as provide important lessons learned that can help your county start or grow your own program.

The “Public Sector Apprenticeships: A New Twist on an Old Model” session will be held Friday, August 20, 2021; 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 18-21 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Resilient. Responsive…Ready.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: