Publications Education *Journal Article

Can training and apprentice programs in STEM increase worker life satisfaction and optimism?



Despite the significant relationship between life satisfaction and education, less is known about the connection between life satisfaction and informal learning in the context of training and apprenticeship programs. This paper examines the influence of the LaunchCode program, a novel training and apprentice program in STEM, on participant’s life satisfaction and optimism. We also explore mediating roles of STEM employment and earnings, as well as moderating role of participants’ educational attainment levels.


We find high life satisfaction and optimism among those who completed both the training course and the apprenticeship component. In addition, we find a significant mediation effect of STEM employment on the relationships between program participation and current life satisfaction, as well as optimism, among the apprenticeship completers. Finally, we find a significant moderation effect of one’s education level on the relationship between program completion and finding a STEM job, such that participants with a college degree are more likely to secure STEM employment through coursework alone.


Our findings highlight the significance of apprenticeships in increasing life satisfaction and optimism, as well as the importance of STEM employment in explaining the significant effect of apprenticeships on life satisfaction and optimism. These findings suggest that what people do for a living is more important than how much they earn. However, while apprenticeships may offer an alternative route to the labor market, education may still facilitate connections to STEM employment in the absence of an apprenticeship.


Chun, Y., Jabbari, J., Huang, W. et al. Can training and apprentice programs in STEM increase worker life satisfaction and optimism?. IJ STEM Ed 11, 6 (2024).