Do good to help your business do great

Fireworks over Baltimore’s iconic Washington Monument. (Photo courtesy of Erin Finnegan)

Around the holidays, businesses give back. They collect canned food, run coat drives, send Christmas cards to children’s hospitals, you name it. Consumers like to see companies practicing this variety of corporate social responsibility, and they like it even better when it’s practiced year-round.

Reports like Nielson’s “Sustainable Selections: How Socially Responsible Companies are Turning a Profit,” link spending habits and brand loyalty to the perceived level of investment a company makes in its community. Not only did consumers report they would be more likely to spend money with companies that practiced corporate social responsibility—66% said they would spend more money with such companies.

The trend is only increasing. Nielson noted a significant increase in the number of people willing to spend more, up from 55% in 2014 and 50% in 2013. Why? The easy answer: Millennials. Millennials have surpassed baby boomers in terms of population and a significant portion of them are now at spending age.

This new boom has brought an onslaught of research into marketing and advertising best practices among this age group. The findings are helpful for companies looking to invest in their future. Forbes reports that 75% of millennials said that it’s either “fairly or very important that a company gives back to society.” To add weight to this statistic, 60% said that they are “often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase.”

Translation: companies can build a sustainable customer base by investing in the things millennials care about.

So the next question is: how can companies do this in a way that benefits their shareholders as well as their community?

Here’s a hint: it starts with ‘a’ and ends in ‘pprenticeship.’ You’ve got it. Apprenticeship offers a solution that not only answers consumers’ growing desire to spend money with companies that invest in their community, but also offers significant returns for businesses.

(If you missed our last entry about the benefits of apprenticeship for businesses, check it out here)

Go ahead, ask us how apprenticeship benefits the community. We’ll tell you:

In such a tumultuous political climate, apprenticeship stands out as a viable answer to the problems of un- and under-employment as well as workforce preparedness. An apprentice can come straight out of high school, join our program and get paid a decent wage from the start. This is significant, considering in Baltimore, only “one in five public school graduates matriculates to a four-year college and 16 to 19-year-olds have an unemployment rate of more than 40 percent” (Abell Foundation)

We aim to place 100 apprentices in our first year. This means 100 people who are no longer without a path after high school, no longer stagnating in a dead-end jobs or no longer searching for an employer to accept a degree without real work experience. It also means 100 more jobs filled with candidates that are vetted and trained to specific company standards.

Our program also seeks to serve a diverse population, helping to narrow the achievement gap among working-class and minority groups. We are taking the talent that already exists in these communities and making sure it reaches its full potential. This opens the door to progressing the status of segments of the population that have struggled for generations against institutional barriers such as the exorbitant cost of college.

Companies that have invested in apprenticeship in the UK have been well-rewarded. The Centre for Economic and Business research projected an 18 BILLION pound increase in profit for companies because of apprenticeship in 2015. That equates to approximately 22.7 BILLION DOLLARS.

A significant portion of this number comes from consumers’ perception of apprenticeship as “contributing to society and providing opportunities for young people, with 5 million consumers more likely to make a purchase from an apprentice employer.”

The article goes on to cite that one in four would pay more for goods and services from companies that employ apprentices. How much more? Between 1.2% and 2.0%.

Investing in our program and apprenticeship in general is an investment in the community, in the economy, in your business. Simply put, apprenticeship works.

If you would like to learn more about incorporating apprenticeship into your business, click here.

If you would like to learn more about becoming an apprentice, click here.