According to a press release from the state of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, the number of people enrolled in apprenticeship programs in the state has now risen to just over 10,000. That marks a 116 percent growth since 2013, which is more than two times the rate at which apprenticeship programs have been increasing at the national level.
The Oregon BOLI states that over the last three years around 85 percent of all newly registered apprentices in Oregon were in programs related to the building and construction trades. The largest apprenticeship programs in Oregon are for carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and steamfitters. Carpenters and electricians are also the two occupations with the highest growth in the state.
This particular increase is attributed to a revival of the construction industry in Oregon, which reached a record high of 113,000 new jobs this past year.
“Registered apprenticeships lead to lots of different careers with family-supporting wages,” said Val Hoyle, Oregon’s Labor Commissioner. “In an apprenticeship, you’re getting paid to learn. And when you’re done, there’s no student debt.”
Hoyle’s remarks highlight two of the main draws of apprenticeships: paid training, and a lack of the need for student loans.
Increasing the accessibility of apprenticeship programs has been a recent focus of both state and federal governments. Earlier this summer, President Trump unveiled a plan to expand apprenticeship programs across the country in an attempt to combat the current shortage of skilled labor across the U.S.. There have also been numerous initiatives to get young people interested in the trades by educating them on the benefits of alternative career paths like apprenticeship programs.
As general knowledge and acceptance of apprenticeship programs has increased, it makes logical sense that the programs would also become more diverse. This is especially true in Oregon, where since 2013 the number of women in apprenticeships has grown from 293 to 705, and the number of minorities has nearly tripled, climbing from 683 to 1979.
“It’s great to see Oregonians from diverse backgrounds choosing this path in record numbers,” said Hoyle.