Even though Registered Apprenticeship is a centuries-old, “gold standard” for workforce development we know that it may be new to you. Check out some of the frequent questions we get about Registered Apprenticeship.
What is Registered Apprenticeship?
Quite simply, it’s an employer-driven, completely customized program of workforce development. It consists of five core components:
- employer involvement
- structured on-the-job learning (OJL)
- related technical instruction (RTI)
- rewards for skills gains
- national occupational credential
Who is eligible to sponsor a registered apprenticeship program?
Employers, unions, associations, non-profit organizations and community colleges can all sponsor registered apprenticeship programs. Sponsors are responsible for setting up and overseeing the program, record-keeping to ensure apprentices complete the program requirements to earn their credential, and periodically reporting back on their program results. Employers may sponsor a program individually for their own employees, or they may collaborate with other employers with similar training needs to sponsor a group program. Programs also may be sponsored by a professional or trade association, a joint apprenticeship training committee, a community college, or a Small Business Development center on behalf of employers. Some of the most recognized name in American industry and education are registered apprenticeship program sponsors!
We are a small company – can we set up a registered apprenticeship program for just a few workers?
Yes. Registered apprenticeship is a model that works for both small and large employers. An employer can set up a program with only one registered apprentice and build its program around those specific training needs. You can sponsor your own program, have your program added to another local sponsor (you maintain ownership of your program but get assistance from the sponsor with registration and paperwork) or have TransPORTs sponsor your program. Whatever sponsorship option you choose, TransPORTs can help connect you with other local companies that have similar training needs to create cohorts of apprentices for your RTI.
Why should our company invest resources in creating a registered apprenticeship program?
A better question might be why wouldn’t you? Registered apprenticeship has proven to:
- create ROI of $1.47 for every $1 invested
- reduce worker turnover
- increase productivity
- diversity the workforce
- build a company’s pipeline of qualified employees for advancement
Isn’t registered apprenticeship only for skilled trade occupations or union employers?
No and no. There are more than 1,000 apprenticeable occupations spanning a broad range of industry clusters from healthcare to transportation to IT. Apprenticeships include both traditional skilled trades and professional or “white collar” careers. Apprentices are insurance claims adjusters, bank tellers, boat builders and logistics engineers.
The list of apprenticeable occupations is regularly updated as employers express a need for new career paths. TransPORTs apprenticeship specialists can help create a new registered apprenticeship occupation to meet your workforce needs if the occupation…
- is customarily learned in a practical way, through a structured, systematic program of on-the-job supervised training
- is clearly identified and commonly recognized throughout your industry
- involves hands-on technical or mechanical skills which require a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job work experience; and
- requires related instruction to supplement on-the-job training.
Am I required to pay employees a certain wage?
No. A registered apprenticeship program does not dictate the wage that you pay an employee. The only federal requirement is that you not pay an employee an amount below the federal minimum wage at any time during their registered apprenticeship. In setting the incremental wage progression, you the employer determines what the appropriate wage would be for that person at the full performance level and then you simply set a percentage below that amount as the entering wage for a new registered apprentice. Then you determine appropriate benchmarks for increasing the wage as an employee advances through the program. These benchmarks for increases may be every four months, every six months, once a year or another appropriate schedule for skill attainment in a given occupation. Once you determine the wage progression schedule for your apprenticeship program it is laid out in the apprenticeship standards you create with your TransPORTs and DOL apprenticeship specialists so that it is clearly communicated to employees when they enter the apprenticeship program.