Top States for Apprentices

by Josh Bays, on Jul 22, 2016 2:56:06 PM

As labor markets further tighten in small and large communities around the country, companies are continually looking for new ways to identify, hire and train workers with critically important skill sets. As a result, more and more employers, especially in the manufacturing sector, are taking advantage of apprenticeship programs to fill that skill gap. Furthermore, in Site Selection Group’s recent project experience, more clients than ever are evaluating apprenticeship and workforce training programs as part of their location diligence.

Top states for active apprenticeships & apprenticeship completions

To identify which states have the largest concentration of individuals actively Apprentices.jpgpursuing apprenticeship opportunities along with those that have completed their training, Site Selection Group analyzed the past five years of state-level data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship program. Because the most populated states tend to have the largest absolute number of apprentices, SSG analyzed the apprenticeship data as a share of each state’s 2016 labor force. Additionally, SSG filtered less populated states (those with less than 1 million in their labor force). The states with the highest number of active apprenticeships as a share of labor force are shown below.

Top 10 states for active apprenticeships

Rank State Name Active Apprenticeships (annual 5-year average) 2016 Labor Force Active Apprentices (per million in Labor Force)
1 Indiana 14,379 3,350,686 4,291
2 Iowa 6,494 1,683,411 3,858
3 Virginia 16,272 4,480,924 3,631
4 Missouri 10,817 3,099,761 3,490
5 Connecticut 6,887 1,982,515 3,474
6 Washington 12,442 3,695,705 3,367
7 Oregon 6,769 2,028,815 3,336
8 Maryland 11,095 3,328,421 3,333
9 Wisconsin 9,687 3,116,050 3,109
10 Minnesota 8,952 3,059,823 2,926


SSG then performed the same analysis, but this time looked at the states that had the highest concentration of individuals completing apprenticeship programs over the past five years.  

Top 10 states for apprenticeship completions

Rank State Name Active Apprenticeships (annual 5-year average) 2016 Labor Force Active Apprentices (per million in Labor Force)
1 Indiana 2,733 3,350,686 816
2 Connecticut 1,611 1,982,515 812
3 Virginia 3,344 4,480,924 746
4 Missouri 2,177 3,099,761 702
5 Iowa 1,121 1,683,411 666
6 Oregon 858 2,028,815 423
7 Washington 1,456 3,695,705 394
8 Wisconsin 1,210 3,116,050 388
9 Nevada 499 1,489,781 335
10 Pennsylvania 2,020 6,572,508 307


Indiana ranks number one in both lists, a sign of that state’s industrial heritage and continued expertise. Other states that appear on both lists include Midwestern states like Iowa and Wisconsin, Missouri and Virginia on the border of the Southeast, Connecticut in the Northeast, and Oregon and Washington in the Pacific Northwest.

Top apprenticeship occupations: Traditional trades lead, but manufacturing-specific positions lag

In its last two annual releases, the Department of Labor has also provided more detailed data on the types of occupations apprentices across the nation are training for. Examining these, it comes as no surprise that traditional, skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters are among the most popular occupations for apprentices in training.

While these types of occupations are important to a variety of industries, positions such as industrial maintenance and machinists are absolutely critical to supporting a strong manufacturing workforce. The number of active apprentices training for these types of positions is much lower than others (see table below).

Because these manufacturing positions are in such high demand and short supply, states and communities that can improve the number of apprentices pursuing training in these areas can give themselves a key advantage in attracting corporate investment.

Top occupations for active apprenticeships - national

Rank Occupation Title

FY 2015 Active Apprentices
by Occupation Type

1 Electrician 37,398
2 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 21,594
3 Carpenter 16,469
4 Construction Laborers 12,603
5 Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers 7,154
... ... ...
20 Industrial Machinery Mechanics 1,804
22 Machinists 1,720



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