Benefits of Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship Program Components and Models
Business and Partner Roles
What is Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a proven approach for preparing workers for jobs while meeting the needs of business for a highly-skilled workforce. It is an employer-driven, “learn-while-you-earn” model that combines on-the-job training, provided by the employer that hires the apprentice, with job-related instruction in curricula tied to the attainment of national skills standards. The model also involves progressive increases in an apprentice’s skills and wages.
Apprenticeship is a flexible training strategy that can be customized to meet the needs of any business. Apprentices can be new hires, or businesses can select current employees who need skill upgrades to join the apprenticeship program.
The apprenticeship model is leading the way in preparing American workers to compete in today’s economy. Apprenticeship programs keep pace with advancing technologies and innovations in training and human resource development through the complete involvement of employers in the educational process. While it is used in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, apprenticeship is also instrumental for training and development in growing industries, such as health care, information technology, transportation and logistics, and energy.
What are the basic program components of Apprenticeship?
There are five components to typical apprenticeship programs. These include:
For more information on apprenticeship program components, please visit the Learn section of the Apprenticeship Toolkit.
Yes. Apprentices start working when they enter an apprenticeship, with steady wage increases as they become more proficient. The average starting wage for an apprentice is $15.00 per hour.
Apprenticeship programs are a key asset for state and local workforce systems’ career pathway strategies. Apprenticeship can be a partner in the K-12 educational system and an integral part of career and technical programs in high schools. School or community-sponsored pre-apprenticeship programs can be valuable training approaches and serve as the start of a career pathway, which leads to Apprenticeship opportunities for youth or low-skilled adult workers.
Apprenticeship programs pave the way for career-building, and lifelong learning through the attainment of stackable credentials. The foundation of the apprenticeship model is the continual building of skills and the ability for workers to obtain higher levels of employment in an occupation or industry. As a result, use of the apprenticeship model can provide communities with a competitive advantage by establishing a continual pipeline of qualified workers for local employers.
First, apprentices are hired by employers and receive a paycheck from the first day of work. Wages increase over time as apprentices advance in their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Apprenticeships last from one to six years – depending on the occupation and model – and connect education and work simultaneously. Apprentices take classes while they are working, combining theoretical and hands-on learning. At the end of the apprenticeship, apprentices earn industry-recognized credentials and in many cases they can receive college credits that may lead to an associate or bachelor's degree.
What is pre-apprenticeship?
Pre-apprenticeship is designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a Apprenticeship program. These programs promote a diverse and skilled workforce and prepare participants to meet the basic qualifications for entry into an apprenticeship, through:
Pre-apprenticeship programs involve formal partnerships with at least one Apprenticeship program sponsor. For more information on pre-apprenticeship programs, please refer to Training and Employment Notice 13-12.
Where can I find Apprenticeship programs?
Visit the Department of Labor's Apprenticeship website to find current apprenticeship programs in your area.
How does a Apprenticeship program benefit employers?
First and foremost, apprenticeship helps businesses develop highly-skilled employees. Apprenticeship programs also reduce turnover rates, increase productivity and lower the cost of recruitment.
Additional benefits include:
Finally, businesses may qualify for state tax credits available for apprenticeship program sponsors. Workforce systems and other community partners may also choose to contribute funding for training, supplies or other aspects of apprenticeship programs. These benefits reduce an employer’s investment in apprenticeship training costs.
How does a Apprenticeship program benefit workers?
From their first day of work, apprentices receive a paycheck that is guaranteed to increase as their training progresses. Apprentices also complete a combination of job-related instruction and hands-on training at the job site leading to a nationally-recognized, portable credential.
Other specific benefits include:
How does Apprenticeship benefit the workforce system?
Connecting Apprenticeship with your state and local workforce systems is a win-win partnership. The strategy helps businesses thrive by building a highly-skilled, highly-productive workforce, and it helps job seekers access and maintain stable careers with good wages.
By using apprenticeship as a work-based learning strategy, the workforce system can increase worker skills, meet employer needs, and enhance performance outcomes. Additionally, apprenticeship is a successful job-driven training strategy that can be an effective tool under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
How does Apprenticeship benefit the workforce system?
Apprenticeship contributes to positive outcomes in each of the workforce system’s performance measures:
How much money can an apprentice earn?
Apprentices earn competitive wages, a paycheck from the first day of employment and incremental raises as skill levels increase. The average wage for a fully-proficient worker who completes an apprenticeship is $50,000 annually. Apprentices who complete their program earn approximately $300,000 more during their career than non-apprenticeship workers.
Who operates Apprenticeship programs?
Every Apprenticeship program has a “sponsor”. The sponsor is responsible for the overall operation of the program. Sponsors can be a single business or a consortium of businesses. They can also be a range of workforce intermediaries, including an industry association or a joint labor-management organization. Community colleges and community-based organizations can also serve as sponsors for Apprenticeship programs. Regardless of who serves as the sponsor, apprenticeships are always employer-driven and employers are involved throughout the process.
Over 150,000 businesses have adopted Apprenticeship, including UPS, Ford Motor Company, the U.S. Military, Werner Enterprises, CVS/Caremark Pharmacy – and many others. For a list of Apprenticeship programs and their sponsors, please visit the Apprenticeship Program Sponsors Database.
Can Apprenticeship programs be used in both non-union and union workplaces?
Yes. Apprenticeship is used widely across all industries. Sponsors of apprenticeship programs can include employers, labor organizations, and joint labor-management organizations.
What are the basic qualifications for workers to begin a Apprenticeship program?
Each Apprenticeship program sponsor identifies the minimum qualifications to apply for a program. The eligible starting age can be no less than 16 years of age; however, most programs require individuals to be at least 18 years of age.
Program sponsors also identify additional minimum qualifications, such as education level and the ability to physically perform the essential functions of the job. All applicants are required to meet the minimum qualifications. Based on the selection method used by the sponsor, additional qualification standards – such as aptitude tests, interviews, school grades, or previous work experience – may be included for qualification.
Do apprentices earn college credit while participating in a Apprenticeship program?
Apprenticeship opportunities combine on-the-job training and job-related instruction, provided by apprenticeship training centers, technical schools, community colleges, and other educational institutions. Apprenticeship sponsors often work directly with two- and four-year colleges to structure the program so apprentices earn college credits.
Is there one apprenticeship model that must be followed?
Apprenticeship is a flexible training strategy that can be customized to meet the needs of every business. For example, there are many options for how, when, and where related instruction is provided to apprentices. It can take place during or after work hours, or be delivered one day a week while the apprentice works on the job the other four days. The instructional component can be arranged in different ways to suits both businesses and apprentices.
In developing apprenticeship programs, there is also flexibility in choosing the type of training model and program design. For more information, please visit the Learn section of the Apprenticeship Toolkit.
How long are Apprenticeship programs?
The length of an apprenticeship program depends on the complexity of the occupation and the type of program model the sponsor chooses. Apprenticeship programs range in length from one to six years. Many occupations have one- and two-year apprenticeships, such as home health aide, biller coder, and emergency medical technician.
What does an apprentice receive upon completion of a Apprenticeship program?
After completion of an apprenticeship program, the apprentice earns a nationally-recognized credential from the U.S. Department of Labor that is portable and stackable. This means that other employers in that industry will recognize its value and that the apprentice can build on its foundation to further his or her knowledge and education.
What are the advantages of registering an apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department of Labor?
Registration of an apprenticeship program provides:
Are there other federal resources that can help support apprenticeship programs?
A variety of federal resources can help to fund apprenticeship training. Some of these include Pell Grants, Federal Work-Study Funds, the GI Bill for veteran customers, and others. Review the Federal Resources Playbook for details and additional sources.
What is an employer’s role in Apprenticeship?
Employers play an indispensable role in any Apprenticeship program. There cannot be an apprenticeship without an employer. Employers drive the design of an apprenticeship program.
An individual business or a consortium of businesses often serve as the sponsor of a Apprenticeship. Sponsors make significant investments to design and execute Apprenticeship programs, provide jobs to apprentices, oversee training development, and provide hands-on learning and technical instruction for apprentices.
What is the role of government in Apprenticeships?
The Office of Apprenticeship in the U.S. Department of Labor works with State Apprenticeship Agencies to administer the program nationally. These registration agencies are responsible for:
To find the Office of Apprenticeship or State Apprenticeship Agency representative in your state, please visit the Directory of State Apprenticeship Offices.
Who are typical Apprenticeship partners?
Through a proven system of public-private partnerships, Apprenticeship involves a wide range of organizations, including (but not limited to):
For additional information on partner roles, and for assistance in identifying partners in your area, please visit the Build section of the Apprenticeship Toolkit.
How can the workforce system use apprenticeship as a training strategy?
The workforce system can incorporate apprenticeship programs in many ways, including:
For more information, please visit the Implement section of the Apprenticeship Toolkit.