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Small Businesses Are Now Hiring Apprentices. Should You?

The old plumber and electrician trainee model has been reimagined for the new world -- and could be exactly what a startup needs.

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This story appears in the March 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Fiona McDougall never thought she’d hire an apprentice. The practice was common in her native Australia, but as a principal at the marketing company OneWorld Communications in San Francisco, she had no time. Plus, here in the U.S., the concept of it seemed like it was for…electricians? Plumbers? Certainly not her. 

Viktor Koen

But in 2017, she was invited to an unusual roundtable series with other local businesspeople. It was organized by the city of San Francisco to help them develop an apprenticeship program — which is to say, paying a potential employee to work part-time while also providing on-the-job training and education. McDougall came away thinking it could work for her.

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