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Sponsors and Employers FAQs

What is Registered Apprenticeship?

Registered Apprenticeship programs meet the skilled workforce needs of American industry, training millions of qualified individuals for lifelong careers since 1937. Registered Apprenticeship helps mobilize America's workforce with structured, on-the-job learning in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, as well as new emerging industries such as health care, information technology, energy, telecommunications and more. Registered Apprenticeship connects job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers and sponsors looking for qualified workers, resulting in a workforce with industry-driven training and employers with a competitive edge.

How is An Apprenticeship Program Started?

There are two courses of action open to employers and sponsors based on whether or not employees are affiliated with a labor organization.

If there is no labor agreement:

  1. Determine the knowledge and skills needed for the occupation or occupations to be included in the program.
  2. Secure the cooperation of the workers and craft supervisors who will be expected to be included in the program.
  3. Have the advisory groups arrange the necessary related classroom instruction, or supervised correspondence type instruction or on-line instruction with the local vocations education director, school superintendent, or community college personnel.
  4. Appoint an apprenticeship supervisor to maintain the standards of training established by the advisory group for the occupations involved, length of training, selection procedures, affirmative action plan, wages, tests, number to be trained, etc.
  5. Basic details of the program should be written up as a set of apprenticeship standards. Local registration agencies will assist in the development of the apprenticeship standards

Note: Human Resources or Training Directors could spearhead this program.

If there is a labor agreement:

  1. Discuss the proposed program with the appropriate union official if the training involves employees who would be covered under the collective bargaining agreement.
  2. Set up a joint apprenticeship committee (JATC) to administer the program. The committee should have equal representation of labor and management, perhaps three members from each labor and management.
  3. The committee will arrange for necessary related classroom instruction with the local education system, usually through vocational education, community colleges, supervised correspondence type instruction or on-line instruction.
  4. The committee should agree on a set of standards for training, including occupations, length of training, selection procedures, affirmative action plan, wages, number of apprentices to be trained, etc.
  5. Basic details should be in writing and approved as the standards of the apprenticeship program.
  6. If the union has no interest in jointly administering the apprenticeship program, the company should obtain a written waiver from the union so that it can adopt an alternative course of action.

Technical Assistance

The follow is available in the planning and development of an apprenticeship program:

  1. There are general guidelines for developing procedures and standards recommended by the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) or a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA) recognized by OA.
  2. There are published standards of apprenticeship in many occupations and industries which may be of valuable assistance in helping to formulate a program for your company or industry.
  3. There are Apprenticeship Representatives from the Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Department of Labor, or from State apprenticeship agencies, who are ready and willing to provide knowledgeable assistance in the development of apprenticeship programs.
  4. There are Community and Private Colleges, Vocational Schools, Correspondence Courses, Organizations at the State, county and municipal levels who will assist in arranging for the necessary related instruction courses.

Who are our partners?

Through a proven system of public-private partnerships, Registered Apprenticeship partners with a wide range of organizations including (but not limited to):

  • Businesses, employer and industry associations
  • Labor management organizations
  • State and local workforce development agencies and programs
  • Two- and four-year colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degrees in conjunction with apprenticeship certificates
  • U.S. military
  • Community leaders and economic development organizations

Who operates Registered Apprenticeship programs?

Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors (e.g. employers, employer associations and labor management organizations) vary from small, privately owned businesses to national employer and industry associations. Today, we have nearly 29,000 sponsors representing more than 250,000 employers, including UPS, the United States Military Apprenticeship Program, Werner Enterprises, CVS/pharmacy and many others.

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit sponsors?

In addition to available tax benefits and workforce development grants in some states, Registered Apprenticeship benefits employers and sponsors by providing them with a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience. Registered Apprenticeship programs are customizable to match employers' needs, and highly flexible to always to meet employers' changing requirements.

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit states, regions and communities?

Registered Apprenticeship programs mean a more highly skilled workforce. Nationally certified employees give your state, region or community a competitive edge, attract companies, increase wages and ultimately increase tax revenue. Because apprentices pay income taxes on their wages, it is estimated that every dollar the federal government invests yields more than $50 in revenues.

What is the link between RA and the Workforce Development System?

The 21st century economy demands a workforce with postsecondary education credentials, and the adaptability to respond immediately to changing economic and business needs. The public workforce system is playing a leadership role in meeting these demands by catalyzing the implementation of innovative talent development and lifelong learning strategies that will enable American workers to advance their skills and remain competitive in the global economy. Registered Apprenticeship, a critical postsecondary education, training, and employment option available in every state in the country, is an important component of these talent development strategies. Registered Apprenticeship is business- and industry-driven, with more than 29,000 programs impacting 250,000 employers and almost 450,000 apprentices -predominantly in high-growth industries that face critical skilled worker shortages now and in the foreseeable future. Full collaboration between the publicly funded workforce investment system and Registered Apprenticeship leverages each system's strengths to maximize the benefits in the context of regional talent development strategies.

For more detailed information, this Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) provides information, examples, and policy guidance to support the full integration of Registered Apprenticeship into workforce system activities. The document is one of a number of products that the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is releasing to assist regions in developing Workforce Investment Act and apprenticeship efforts that are mutually supportive.

Where is Registered Apprenticeship?

The Registered Apprenticeship program's national office is located in Washington, D.C. However, the program has a presence in all of the 50 states and some territories, in the form of federal staff and/or state and employer partners.

How Many Occupations are Apprenticeable?

Nationwide, there are registered apprenticeship programs for over 1000 occupations and that number continually grows. A few of the traditional skilled occupations in which apprentices are being trained are: automotive technician, baker, bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, machinist, maintenance mechanic, operating engineer, painter, roofer, sheet metal worker, structural steel worker, and tool and die maker. However, there are many other occupations that have apprenticeship programs. Examples of these occupations are computer programmer, computer service mechanic, dairy technologist, dental assistant, electronics technician, environment analyst, fire fighter, horticulturist, insurance claims adjuster, laboratory technician, optical technician, wastewater treatment plant operator, chef, and many others.

The Office of Apprenticeship provides a list of the officially recognized apprenticeable occupations.

How long are Apprenticeship programs?

The length of an apprenticeship program depends on the complexity of the occupation and the type of program (Time Based, Competency Based, or a Hybrid). Apprenticeship programs range from 1 year to 6 years, but the majority are 4 years in length. During the program, the apprentice receives both structured, on-the-job learning (OJL) and related classroom instruction (RTI). For each year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will receive normally 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a recommended minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction.

What are the different designs of Registered Apprenticeship programs?

Time-Based Requirements
A time-based occupation requires a minimum of 2,000 hours, which includes an outline of the specific work processes and the approximate time requirement for each individual work process under that occupation.

Competency/Performance Program Requirements
Competency/performance based apprenticeship programs are premised on attainment of demonstrated, observable and measurable competencies in lieu of meeting time based work experience and on-the-job learning. However, these programs still have to comply with the requirement for the allocation of the approximate time to be spent in each major process. Therefore, work experience process schedules and related instruction outlines must specify approximate time of completion or attainment of each competency, which can be applied toward the 2,000-hour requirement (competencies demonstrated not withstanding and assuming no credit for previous experience). In competency/performance based programs apprentices may accelerate the rate of competency achievement or take additional time beyond the approximate time of completion or attainment due the open entry and exit design. Competency is defined as, “An observable, measurable pattern of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully.”

Competency/performance based training programs have the following characteristics:

  • Competencies should be identified and defined through a job/task analysis and directly related to the job/role.
  • Organized learning activities should be structured and wherever possible, self-paced with open entry and open exit.
  • Measures or tests of competency attainment should be observable, repeatable and agreed to in advance.
  • Work experience process schedules and related instruction outlines should include the approximate time/hours or minimum - maximum times/hours for each competency attained in order to document successful completion.

Hybrid Program Requirements

In addition to time-based programs which have a fixed set time for completion (i.e., 2,000, 4,000, 6,000 hours) and competency/performance based programs, a third alternative has evolved which, in effect, is a “hybrid” of the two types of programs previously mentioned. This third type of program is basically a combination of time and performance considerations whereby work processes are developed with a minimum - maximum time/hours for each task or job requirement (i.e., minimum 200 hours maximum 400 hours).

Contact Us

To find out more about the benefits of the Registered Apprenticeship program, contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship or your state’s apprenticeship office.

Offices Contact Information


Registered Apprenticeship Regions

U.S. Map of Registered Apprenticeship Regions


Workforce

Registered Apprenticeship programs are operated by partnerships of employers, labor management organizations and government. Apprenticeship sponsors - employers, employer associations and labor management organizations - register programs with federal and state government agencies. Sponsors provide mentors, on-the-job learning opportunities and required technical instruction to apprentices.

Incorporating Registered Apprenticeship directly into your workforce development system will strengthen your local and regional economy by developing highly trained and educated residents. It will also help your state meet important performance goals for workforce development. Let Registered Apprenticeship be your competitive advantage.

How will Registered Apprenticeship improve performance for most major workforce development programs?

Registered Apprenticeship can have a positive impact on each of the following common measures for workforce development programs:

  • Adult Measures
  • Entered employment
  • Employment retention
  • Average earnings
  • Youth Measures
  • Placement in employment or education
  • Attainment of degree or certificate
  • Literacy/numeracy gains

Recent Outcomes for National Apprenticeship

Employment retention: 83%
Starting wage: $12.82/hour
After 9 months: $14.32/hour
Graduates earn an average of $49,800 and many apprentices earn significantly more depending on career area and region of the country.

Action Clinics

We don't see integration as just a workforce/apprenticeship partnership; therefore, these action clinics offer a forum where all of the different stakeholders of Registered Apprenticeship can meet and interact. We realize to get anything done we need to bring lots of partners together to join forces in an effort to effectively connect our services.

Learn more about Action Clinics, just one of the many tools OA has designed to help you partner Registered Apprenticeship with WIA programs, Education, and the Business Community.

Recent Guidance

The 21st century economy demands a workforce with postsecondary education credentials, and the adaptability to respond immediately to changing economic and business needs. The public workforce system is playing a leadership role in meeting these demands by catalyzing the implementation of innovative talent development and lifelong learning strategies that will enable American workers to advance their skills and remain competitive in the global economy.

Registered Apprenticeship, a critical postsecondary education, training, and employment option available in every state in the country, is an important component of these talent development strategies. Registered Apprenticeship is business- and industry-driven, with more than 29,000 programs impacting 250,000 employers and almost 450,000 apprentices —predominantly in high-growth industries that face critical skilled worker shortages now and in the foreseeable future. Full collaboration between the publicly funded workforce investment system and Registered Apprenticeship leverages each system's strengths to maximize the benefits in the context of regional talent development strategies.

For more detailed information, this Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) provides information, examples, and policy guidance to support the full integration of Registered Apprenticeship into workforce system activities. The document is one of a number of products that the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is releasing to assist regions in developing Workforce Investment Act and apprenticeship efforts that are mutually supportive.

Useful Links


Education
  • Do you have students who are looking for a way to earn a paycheck and receive employer benefits while learning and earning college credits at the same time?
  • Do you have students who want to further their educations without going into debt?
  • Do you have students who want a long-term, successful career?

If so, talk with them about Registered Apprenticeship!

The U.S. Department of Labor's Registered Apprenticeship program allows individuals to work and earn a paycheck - while learning skills and earning the certifications that employer want. Registered Apprenticeship provides more than 500,000 apprentices across the U.S. with industry-specific education, on-the-job training, nationally recognized certifications, and guaranteed wage increases.

Registered Apprenticeship programs pay individuals from day one, and are required to provide raises as apprentices attain additional skill levels. Apprentices learn their skills through structured, on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. Registered Apprenticeship programs foster a sense of personal independence in apprentices. Upon completion, apprentices receive nationally recognized certifications. Many of the apprenticeship programs partner with local colleges, enabling apprentices to earn college credit, sometimes paid for by the employer. There are more than 250,000 employers involved in the apprenticeship program, including nationally known companies such as CVS/pharmacy and UPS. These companies participate as program sponsors in a public/private partnership with the government to create a highly skilled workforce.

Recent Developments

New Regulations:

On October 29, 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor published in the Federal Register a final rule to modernize the National Apprenticeship System. This rule took effect on December 29, 2008, and provides State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) with up to an additional two years from the effective date to implement necessary changes. The revised regulations, which incorporate many of the recommendations of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA), emphasize the need for a flexible National Apprenticeship System by including options for both program sponsors and apprentices that address the needs of the nation's regional economies and provide for the development of a skilled, competitive workforce.

Some of the changes affecting education include:

  • Incorporate technology-based learning - By including the use of electronic media in the definition of Related Technical Instruction (RTI), the final rule fully supports technology-based and distance learning.
  • Provide additional pathways to certification - The final rule specifies that program sponsors may offer three different ways for apprentices to complete a registered apprenticeship program:
    • Traditional, time-based approach, which requires the apprentice to complete a specific number of on-the-job (OJT) and RTI hours;
    • Competency-based approach, which requires the apprentice to demonstrate competency in the defined subject areas and requires OJT and RTI; and
    • Hybrid approach, which requires the apprentice to complete a minimum number of OJT and RTI hours and demonstrate competency in the defined subject areas.

For more information about recent federal regulation changes, please see the OA Community of Practice website.


Other Critical Partners

Introduction

Registered Apprenticeship programs are operated by partnerships between organizations. Mutually-beneficial and cooperative relationships between those partners- such as community-based organizations (CBOs), economic development organizations and foundations- and the Office of Apprenticeship are vital in achieving goals and making significant strides in the area of Registered Apprenticeship. Similar to CBOs, Registered Apprenticeship seeks to serve the interests of families and community stakeholders. Thus, partnering with RA will help you accomplish your goals by strengthening your local and regional economy through the development of highly trained and educated residents. It will also provide the members of your organization and your communities with significant opportunities to learn valuable skills and subsequently improve their lives. The Office of Apprenticeship is committed to the idea that more can be accomplished in Registered Apprenticeship when we draw upon the unique strengths of every willing partner.

Recent Developments

Recently, Community Colleges, Workforce Development Centers, Faith, and Community Based Organizations have collaborated with business and industry to develop registered apprenticeship programs through sponsoring employer-participation agreements. The sponsor of an apprenticeship program plans, administers and usually pays for the program.

Would you like to be recognized by your community as a leader in providing opportunities for employment and training? Regions that adopt robust Registered Apprenticeship programs in the context of economic development strategies create seamless pipelines of skilled workers and flexible career pathways to meet current and future workforce demands.

Useful Links

For additional information, please visit the Community of Practice website.