Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership


The primary purpose of the study is to provide empirical evidence that refutes arguments made by employers who resist registering an apprenticeship program because they believe it will increase turnover of their skilled trade employees. To do this, data were collected to test the hypothesis that companies that have a registered apprenticeship program experience less turnover of their skilled trade employees compared to companies that do not. Secondary hypotheses were also developed to compare turnover ratios with union orientation, size, and wage structure of employers to help validate the results and demonstrate alternative explanations for turnover of skilled trade employees. The hope is that with this information, apprenticeship practitioners will be able to influence employers to register an apprenticeship program.

A state-wide survey was conducted and 188 companies (55%) responded from a randomly selected sample of 340 companies or 11% of the manufacturing firms in Michigan that currently provide training for their skilled trade employees. This stratified sample represented 8,731 skilled trade employees from small (52%), medium (33%), large (15%), union (28%), and nonunion (72%) companies. There were 100 companies that had registered apprenticeship programs and 88 that did not. The demographics of the sample did reflect the approximate characteristics of the whole population.

No conclusions could be drawn about the primary hypothesis that companies that have registered apprenticeship programs experience less turnover than companies that do not have a registered apprenticeship program. Similarly, tests comparing wage structure with skilled trade employee turnover were inconclusive as well. Two of the secondary hypotheses were supported, however, indicating that both the size of the employer and union orientation are related to skilled trade employee turnover.

This study provided no evidence that registering an apprenticeship program has any influence on the turnover of skilled trade employees, which may be considered a supportive statement with respect to the primary purpose of this study.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access