Not Your Grandfather’s Apprenticeship: How to Launch an Apprentice Program Today

The New Apprenticeship

When you hear the word “apprenticeship,” what’s the first thing you think of?

Pipefitters, welders, or brick layers? Industries that require that you get your hands dirty?

The truth is, times have changed: Today’s apprenticeships aren’t the same as your grandparents’.

Broadly, an apprenticeship is a training program that’s a combination of instruction and on-the-job training under supervision from experienced employees in their respective industry. And now, it can be in nearly ANY industry and many types of jobs!

But even outside of the obvious benefit to a new employee (who receives on-the-job training), there are benefits to the company as well: lower recruitment and training costs, increased productivity of new employees, a pipeline of appropriately skilled workers for your open positions, and higher employee retention.

As the baby boomer generation ages out of the workforce, a gap in skills and expertise is left behind. Apprenticeship programs are a great way to reduce that gap, to make sure your employees have the skills they need to be successful, and to retain your staff long-term – no matter what industry you’re in.

Most employers aren’t aware of the resources, though, for how they can hire apprentices. There’s a federally-funded Registered Apprenticeship program, as well as some state programs, depending on what state you live in.

Industries & Occupations

There are more than 1,000 occupations listed by the U.S. Department of Labor as eligible for its Registered Apprenticeship program. A full list of apprenticeable occupations can be found here.

Occupations that could benefit from apprenticeship go far beyond just manufacturing or construction, like in years past. Some examples:

Healthcare:

CNAs, Home Health Aides, Long-Term Care Nurse Managers

Other:

IT Specialists, IT Project Managers, Office Managers, Legal Secretaries, Maintenance Techs, Bank Tellers

The good news is, no matter your industry, if you’re an employer you DON’T have to start from scratch on apprenticeship job descriptions. The government has already created both job descriptions and training plans for all the occupations listed in the national Registered Apprenticeship program.

State-Specific Info

States either administer their own apprenticeship system, or they belong to the larger federal system. You can view a full map of the U.S. and see where your state lies here.

States under the federal system: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

Individually-run state systems: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, Wisconsin

Whether you’re in a state that administers its own apprenticeship program, or falls under the federally-run program, you can find your state’s contact person here.

Examples of State Programs

–Ohio has more than 600 Registered Apprenticeship programs for occupations ranging from animal trainers and dental assistants to jewelers and computer systems analysts. You can browse occupations available in Ohio here.

–Louisiana’s apprenticeship program is administered by its Workforce Commission, and plenty of info can be found here, including links to relevant forms for apprenticeship programs and FAQs. You can also search for contact information based on your city, region, or trade here.

–The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is in charge of the state’s apprenticeship system. Their website has information on how to become an apprentice, why apprenticeships are good for businesses, and even info for apprenticeship opportunities specifically for women and veterans.

–Kentucky’s program is run by the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. A list of program coordinators and their contact info can be found here.

If you live and work in a state whose apprenticeship program falls under the federal umbrella, you can find contact info for your region here.

Why Invest in Apprenticeships

As our workforce continues to evolve, it’s important for companies to invest in employee training. This is how they decrease turnover numbers, as employees who feel properly trained are more loyal to the company, more likely to succeed in job responsibilities, and less likely to go looking for another job opportunity.

Reach out to your state or region’s contact person today to see how you can get an apprenticeship program started in your organization — no matter what industry you’re in.

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