Growing the Talent Gap: Apprenticeships and Internships

The advanced manufacturing industry is critical to our country’s economic competitiveness. The challenge? Significant talent shortages and skill gaps are slowing manufacturers’ efforts to expand, innovate, and excel. Among these challenges:

  • An aging workforce of highly-skilled and experienced workers
  • Attracting talent to emerging manufacturing jobs
  • Investing in talent that can keep pace with the latest technology advances
  • Implementing workforce training models that effectively develop talent

Two options that are worth exploring are registered apprenticeships and internships.

Registered Apprenticeships

Thousands of manufacturers across the U.S. and among our global competitors use the Registered Apprenticeship training model to recruit, train, and retain workers with the right skills. Registered Apprenticeship has been the most effective training model for enhancing companies’ performance and competitiveness.

Registered Apprenticeship is an “earn and learn” training model that combines work-based learning with related classroom instruction using the highest industry standards.

Examples of Manufacturing Apprenticeships

  • CNC Machine Operator
  • Machinist
  • Maintenance and Repair Worker
  • Mechatronics Technician
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Welder


A slightly less time-intensive option is the internship/co-op/work-study route. Students may work at the manufacturing facility in the summer, or a few days a week, while alternating days spent in class.

These programs, while offering greater flexibility, ultimately provide less intensive skill-building than apprenticeships.

Interns will require extra supervision and mentoring with an experienced employee but it is a good opportunity to get a start on a project that has been on the back burner and will give you a good idea of how the intern will perform.

Going with either option will give you a jump on training and developing skilled labor. Research has shown that apprenticeship offers myriad benefits to employers. By investing in talent development through apprenticeship, employers gain a pipeline of loyal skilled workers, increase productivity, and improve the bottom line.

To learn more about Registered Apprenticeships, visit If an internship program sounds right, contact a nearby community college or university to get started.

CATEGORIES: Manufacturing & Distribution
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