South Carolina started an apprenticeship program to build the number of skilled workers in the workforce. Apprenticeship Carolina has taken off in South Carolina to help build trades in nursing, pharmacy, and IT industries. When the program first started in 2007, they only had 90 companies and 777 apprentices. Now, the program as hit 670 companies with 11,000 apprentices. The secret is the tax reduction for companies of $1,000 per year per apprentice for four years.
Manufacturing is one trade that needs skilled and experience workers, specifically in machines and technology. United Tool and Mold in Easley, S.C. has an apprenticeship program to allow workers to start early in their junior year of high school in order to retain those experienced workers after their graduation.
Although apprenticeships are not a cure-all solution, the system is a economic advantage for the state. Apprenticeships help young people launch their career, and companies are able to gain access to a pipeline of skilled labor. Even with all these benefits, apprenticeship has been declining since 2003. In 2003, there were 489,000 registered apprentices in the U.S. while there were only 288,000 apprentices last year. The main reason for the decline is due to the recession but the stigma of a four year college also hurts apprenticeship. It’s one stigma South Carolina is trying to overcome.