In this episode, noted labor economist Bob Lerman joins us to shed light on a subject that few people in the field of economics and certainly few people in Washington have thought as deeply about-apprenticeships. At a time when US manufacturing executives are expressing increasing concern about the scarcity of workers who are qualified for a wide range of manufacturing jobs, Dr. Lerman’s unique insights into the development and long-term value of apprenticeship programs are critical for the productivity and competitiveness of the factory sector. Throughout the interview, Bob offers details on the architecture of apprenticeships, issues arising from technological disruption, the role of the public sector in fostering apprenticeship programs and on the return from their implementation.
Dr. Robert I. Lerman is an Institute Fellow at Urban Institute, Emeritus Professor of Economics at American University, and a Research Fellow at IZA in Bonn, Germany (www.iza.org). Dr. Lerman was one of the first scholars to examine the economic determinants of unwed fatherhood and to propose a youth apprenticeship strategy in the U.S. His published research covers family structure, inequality, income support, and youth employment and development. Dr. Lerman is a leading academic expert on U.S. apprenticeship, with publications on apprenticeship spanning decades, including “The compelling case for youth apprenticeship” (The Public Interest, 1990), “Restoring Opportunity by Expanding Apprenticeship” (Springer Open, 2016), “Do Firms Benefit from Apprenticeship Investments?” (IZA World of Labor, 2014), and “The Virtue of Apprenticeship” (American Interest, 2019). He has testified before congressional committees and served on the National Academy of Sciences panel on the U.S. post-secondary education and training system. Dr. Lerman is founding President of the American Institute for Innovative Apprenticeship (innovativeapprenticeship.org) and serves on the board of the International Network for Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP). Dr. Lerman is Principal Investigator of US government-funded evaluations of demonstration grants on apprenticeship and of a project on building occupational competency frameworks for apprenticeship. He earned an A.B. at Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in economics at MIT.