Gov. Jared Polis on Friday declared November to be Colorado Apprenticeship month, citing the state’s 6,000 apprentices.
“Apprenticeships give people of all ages an opportunity to hone existing skills and gain new ones,” said Joe Barela, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “Apprenticeships will provide countless Coloradans with opportunities to remain competitive in a quickly evolving labor market that demands lifelong learning.”
Polis’s proclamation stated that the average age of Colorado apprentices is 29, and that they work in health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, transportation, logistics, aerospace, energy and beauty.
A state report highlighted Colorado’s turn toward the Swiss apprenticeship model, adopted during Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration.
“There is no loss to a company when an apprentice leaves; there is increased profitability when they stay,” the report reads. Two-thirds of Swiss students pursue vocational training, with some 250 programs available. Companies begin recruiting students as early as seventh grade, and nearly 1% of the country’s gross domestic product is spent on apprenticeships.
By comparison, the total output of American farms makes up 1% of U.S. GDP.
Nationally, between 2013 and 2018, apprenticeships grew 56%, from 375,000 to 585,000 participants.