Many skilled trades offer apprenticeship programs. It’s paid, on-the-job training in occupations like plumbing and carpentry.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 130,000 people entered registered apprenticeships in 2011.
Neil Perry directs the labor department’s office of apprenticeship in Missouri. Perry says there are over 900 “apprentice-able” occupations, from pastry cook to dental assistant, but the state’s largely been focused on construction.
"Traditionally, it’s been blue collar construction, manufacturing. That’s our core," says Perry. "But we're already trying to expand into health care and other areas."
According to Perry, there are currently over 9,000 active apprentices in Missouri. And in the Kansas City metropolitan area, there are 139 active programs with over 3,200 apprentices.
But the slowdown in the economy has also had an impact on the apprenticeship program, adds Perry, because not as many companies are hiring.