Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential. Apprenticeship programs are a proven solution for employers, giving them the tools they need to recruit, train, and retain skilled workers. Apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with a steady paycheck, making it an ideal solution for many Americans, including those with disabilities.
Registered Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of occupations, including traditional fields, like construction, and high-growth, and nontraditional fields, like health care and information technology.
ODEP promotes inclusive apprenticeship program models that meet employer needs by attracting a diverse array of candidates, including people with disabilities. ODEP works to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in apprenticeship programs by influencing national and state policies and providing effective practices.
Launched in 2020, the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA) has advanced policies and practices to improve access to inclusive career pathways and talent pipelines. ODEP has awarded $3.8 million in funding to support PIA’s work over its first two years and about $2.2 million for FY23. PIA focuses on driving efforts to propel apprenticeships in key high-growth, high-demand fields, such as information technology, clean energy, and healthcare.
PIA achieves this mission through partnering with and providing technical assistance and outreach to employers and intermediaries from industry. It also hosts a podcast series, offers a resource library, and provides policy and practice briefs, guides, toolkits, and other resources for employers, intermediaries, and apprentices. Learn more by visiting ODEP's PIA webpage and PIA’s website.
DOL and Apprenticeship
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to growing and expanding apprenticeship and has recently awarded $183 million as part of the Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grants to expand apprenticeships and make them available to more workers and employers.
DOL has also awarded a two-year, $1.9 million contract to Social Policy Research Associates Inc. for the Inclusive Apprenticeship Initiative for Youth and Adults with Disabilities. The Apprenticeship Inclusion Models (AIM) demonstration project will develop pilot projects that research, test, and evaluate innovative strategies in existing apprenticeship programs to expand access, education, and occupational skills training in information technology (IT), health care, and other in-demand sectors.
Apprenticeship Disability-Inclusion Guides
ODEP's #ApprenticeshipWorks Guides introduce youth, educators, service providers, and businesses to the benefits and opportunities of inclusive apprenticeship.
The #ApprenticeshipWorks Video Series demonstrates how apprenticeship works for job seekers and employers. These videos feature apprentices with and without disabilities and their apprenticeship sponsors participating in inclusive apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries like information technology and healthcare. Videos are available in English and Spanish with full captioning and audio introduced versions.
- Introduction to the Apprenticeship Toolkit: Youth with Disabilities Entering the Workplace through Apprenticeship
- Module 1: Understanding Apprenticeship Basics
- Module 2: Preparing Youth and Young Adults for Apprenticeship Programs
- Module 3: Increasing the Participation of Young Adults with Disabilities in Apprenticeship Programs
- Module 4: Establishing New Apprenticeship Programs
- Module 5: What Apprenticeship Employers Need To Know About Working with Young Adults with Disabilities
- Module 6: Looking To Future Opportunities In Apprenticeship
Connecting Veterans To Apprenticeship
ODEP, with DOL VETS and the VA’s Veterans Readiness and Employment (VR&E) developed a desk reference guide to support the transition of more veterans with disabilities into registered apprenticeships. The information contained in this guide includes a list of resources, a glossary of terms and acronyms, and an Appendix with veterans benefits.
To learn more about how the VR&E Program helps veterans with service-connected disabilities transition into civilian employment through apprenticeship, watch the Connecting Veterans to Apprenticeship Videos.
Youth and Future Apprentices
- Information and Benefits for Apprentices – Information for individuals interested in pursuing apprenticeships.
- Apprenticeship Finder — Find apprenticeship opportunities near you. Get started by searching by keyword and your location.
- Job Corps — DOL-funded free education and training program that helps eligible young people ages 16 through 24 complete their high school education, trains them for meaningful careers, and assists them with obtaining employment.
- YouthBuild — DOL-funded YouthBuild is a community-based pre-apprenticeship program that provides job training and educational opportunities for at-risk youth ages 16-24 who have previously dropped out of high school.
- Apprenticeship.gov — A web-based no-cost tool that allows employers to promote apprenticeships in their industries, and offers career seekers a platform to search for apprenticeships by city, state, and occupation.
Educators and Service Providers
- High School Apprenticeship – Information on youth apprenticeship programs for high school students.
- Apprenticeship Partner Finder – DOL's Partner Finder can connect you with the right partners to help you design, develop, or enhance your apprenticeship program.
- State Apprenticeship Information — Provides information about state apprenticeship programs and contact information for state departments of labor.
- National Apprenticeship Week — Held each November, National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a nationwide celebration where employers, industry associations, labor organizations, community-based organizations, workforce partners, education providers and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are instrumental in re-building our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, building a pipeline to good quality jobs, and supporting underserved communities.
DOL Blogs on Apprenticeships
Advisories & Rules
- Training and Employment Notice No. 04-15 provides information and resources on promising strategies to promote the inclusion of youth and adults with disabilities in registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships.
- Training and Employment Notice No. 10-09 describes an issue paper and toolkit on improving transition outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities through apprenticeship.
- Final Rule on Equal Employment Opportunity in Apprenticeship was issued by DOL in 2016 and is an updated Final Rule on equal employment opportunity in apprenticeship, which helps promote access to apprenticeships for people with disabilities and other communities.
- Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Improving the Pipeline for People with Disabilities discusses policy environments affecting apprenticeship, inclusive models, and strategies to address challenges that both programs and participants face.
- Improving Transition Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities by Increasing Access to Apprenticeship Opportunities Issue Paper examines the role apprenticeship can play in increasing opportunities and improving outcomes for youth with disabilities as they move from school to the workplace.
- Apprenticeships: Modernizing a Proven Workforce Development Strategy explores the current collaborative approach to apprenticeships, involving manufacturers, workforce educators, and others.