College of the Canyons and AMS Fulfillment Inc. have partnered to offer California’s first apprenticeships in warehousing and shipping, the college announced Thursday.

AMS in Santa Clarita has applied to register the program with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship USA initiative, the first company of its kind in the nation to do so.

“We think that this program will help take introductory jobs and turn them into career opportunities in our industry,” Ken Wiseman, chief executive and managing partner of AMS, said in a prepared statement. “Because of the program’s aspects, such as job shadowing and hand selection, we will employ individuals who see this as more than just a job.”

The 13 students selected for the apprenticeships will be full-time employees of AMS while also enrolled in job-related courses at College of the Canyons. Upon completing the 12-month program, the apprentices will receive certificates or credentials acknowledging their accomplishment and may be eligible for pay increases or promotions with AMS.

“Apprenticeships enable students to apply the knowledge they have gained from classroom instruction to a real world experience,” Jeffrey Forrest, vice president of economic and workforce development at the college, said in a prepared statement. “When a business invests in the training of its staff, it leads to higher productivity, less turnover and lower costs.”

A growing number of businesses across the U.S. are taking on apprentices as a way to maximize workforce efficacy amidst a constricting skilled labor market. An average of more than 1,600 new apprenticeship programs have registered with the Department of Labor each year since 2011, when it first launched Apprenticeship USA. While California has just over half the national mean of 394 registered apprenticeships per state, it surpasses the rest of the country by far in terms of the number of active and new apprentices participating in its program. Around 41,000 apprentices were enrolled in California’s 207 apprenticeships during the last fiscal year, including nearly 18,000 new trainees. The second closest state is Virginia, which has around 17,000 apprentices across roughly 2,200 programs.


U.S. Apprenticeships by Occupation, 2015