Over the past few years apprenticeship programs have made a resurgence and that’s a great thing.
But why aren’t more municipalities and local governments utilizing apprenticeship programs? There are a small number of municipalities with programs most of which seem to have been pushed to the side long ago. But there’s a case for doing the work and having a quality program.
Benefits include increases in efficiency, steady pipeline for specific skills and improved quality of life for local citizens. Let’s not leave out better ability to manage personnel budgets while increasing revenue organically. Higher paid employees shop more and pay more in taxes.
Much like the rest of the industry municipalities and local governments that employ mechanics are faced with a shortage. Senior mechanics are at or nearing retirement and younger mechanics want to make more money.
Municipalities have restraints with pay and are challenged with explaining clearly other non-monetary benefits.
A registered apprenticeship program could help improve recruitment and reduce the shortage.
A quality apprenticeship program would give local governments the ability to employ less experienced and underemployed citizens while closing their talent gaps. Studies show employees who see growth potential stay with organizations longer and perform better.
So, what if after completion of a program a candidate goes to a local dealership? We would say the local government still got a great deal. Over the course of the program they’ve had an engaged employee and if measured likely a reduction in repair cost due to improper repairs or misdiagnosis. Further a citizen that makes more spends more in the local area. Again, great for the local government and the citizen.
We are sure many are wondering why more local governments haven’t taken the leap into a registered program. It can be hard to understand or figure out how to get funding. Depending on charters it could require detailed debates and red tape.
A simpler way maybe to partner with local community colleges and other organizations. Often community colleges can receive grants that can be utilized to support local organizations. If structured properly the apprentice could also earn college credits while enrolled. By working with these organizations and developing a cost to benefit matrix it becomes an easier sell to the local leadership. What local government doesn’t want to provide resources for their citizens and collect some revenue on top of it?
This is specific to diesel and automotive mechanics but could be applied to any skill.
*We support apprenticeship programs and hope to offer our own as part of our mechanic partnership program in the future.