FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Registered Apprenticeship?
A: Registered Apprenticeships are innovative work-based learning and post-secondary earn-and- learn models that meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Q: What are the basic program components of Registered Apprenticeship?
A: The basic program components are:
Business Involvement: Employers are the foundation of every apprenticeship program and the skills needed by their workforce are at the core. Businesses must play an active role in building the program and be involved in every step in designing the apprenticeship.
On-the-Job Training: Every program includes structured on-the-job training. Apprentices get hands-on training from an experienced mentor at the job site for typically not less than one year. On-the-job training is development through mapping the skills and knowledge that the apprentice must learn over the course of the program in order to be fully proficient at the job.
Related Instruction: Apprentices receive related instruction that complement on-the-job learning. This instruction delivers the technical, workforce, and academic competencies that apply to the job. It can be provided by a community college, a technical school, an apprenticeship training school, or by the business itself. Education partners collaborate with business to develop the curriculum based on the skills and knowledge needed by apprentices. All partners work to identify how to pay for the related instruction, including the cost to the employer and other funds that can be leveraged.
Rewards for Skill Gains: Apprentices receive increases in pay as their skills and knowledge increase. Start by establishing an entry wage and an ending wage, and build in progressive wage increases through the apprenticeship as apprentices attain skill benchmarks. Progressive wage increases help reward and motivate apprentices as they advance through their training.
National Occupational Credential: Every graduate of a Registered Apprenticeship program receives a nationally recognized credential. As you build the program, keep in mind that apprenticeship programs are designed to ensure that apprentices master every skill and have all the knowledge needed to be fully proficient for a specific occupation.
Q: How is apprenticeship different from other types of work-based training?
A: Registered Apprenticeship training is distinguished from other types of workplace training by several factors:
- Participants who are newly hired (or already employed) earn wages from employers during training
- Programs must meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor
- Programs provide on-the-job learning and job-related technical instruction
- On-the-job learning is conducted in the work setting under the direction of one or more of the employer’s personnel; and
- Training results in an industry-recognized credential.
Q: What types of industry sectors will the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA) assist with Registered Apprenticeship?
A: The AOA is seeking to diversify the use of apprenticeships across industries. While construction and manufacturing have been the most traditional users of apprenticeship programs, new opportunities are being created in information technology, healthcare, hospitality and tourism, finance, and many other high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand areas.
Q: How does a Registered Apprenticeship program benefit employers?
A: Apprenticeship sponsors develop highly skilled employees. Once established, Apprenticeship programs also reduce turnover rates, increase productivity, lower the cost of recruitment, and increase safety in the workplace.
Q: How much money can an apprentice earn?
A: Apprentices earn competitive wages, a paycheck from day one and incremental raises as skill levels increase. The average wage for a fully proficient worker who completed an apprenticeship translates to approximately $50,000 annually. Apprentices who complete their program earn approximately $300,000 more over their career than non-apprenticeship participants.
Q: Who administers Registered Apprenticeship programs?
A: The U.S Department of Labor (USDOL) Office of Apprenticeship administers the program nationally. With the creation of the AOA, Alabama will be taking over the administration of registered apprenticeships in the state. As registration agencies, the AOA and USDOL are responsible for:
- Registering apprenticeship programs that meet federal and state standards
- Protecting the safety and welfare of apprentice
- Issuing nationally recognized and portable Certificates of Completion of Apprenticeship to apprentices
- Promoting the development of new programs through marketing and technical assistance
- Assuring that all programs provide high quality training
- Assuring that all programs produce skilled and competent workers
In addition, a wide variety of stakeholders exist, including state organizations, industry associations, educational organizations (both secondary and post-secondary), workforce development organizations, economic development organizations, community-based organizations, and others. These stakeholders have a substantial interest in its success of Registered Apprenticeship.
Q: Do apprentices earn college credit while participating in a Registered Apprenticeship program?
A: The Alabama Community College System is the primary training provider for apprenticeships in Alabama. Apprentices who receive related technical instruction from colleges complete credit-bearing coursework which may be utilized towards completion of a degree. Often, registered apprenticeships are built so students may earn a long certificate or associate’s degree during their apprenticeship. However, apprenticeships are employer driven and the employer and sponsor always have the right to determine where their apprentices will receive training. Some registered apprenticeship opportunities include classroom instruction provided by apprenticeship training centers, technical schools, and even distance learning.
Q: What are the advantages of registering an apprenticeship program with the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship and the U.S. Department of Labor?
A: The benefits are substantial for both the employer and the apprentice.
- Technical Assistance and Support – Registered programs receive support from the dedicated staff of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship.
- National Credential – Graduates of Registered Apprenticeship programs receive a national, industry-recognized credential.
- Quality Standards – Registration means the program has met national and independent standards for quality and rigor. Registration tells prospective employees, customers and suppliers that you invest in your workforce and that you believe your employees are your most important asset.
- Income Tax Credits – Businesses may qualify for Alabama Income Tax Credits related to apprenticeship programs. In addition, employers may be able to claim some expenses for training as a federal tax credit.
- Federal Resources – Business and apprentices can access funding and other resources from many federal programs to help support their Registered Apprenticeship programs.
Q: Are there other possible federal resources that can help support apprenticeship programs?
A: Other possible federal resources include:
- GI Bill
- Pell Grants
- Federal Work Study
Q: What is an employer’s role in Registered Apprenticeships?
A: Employers play a critical role in Registered Apprenticeships. 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 serves as the sponsor of a Registered Apprenticeship. Sponsors make significant investments to design and execute Registered Apprenticeship programs, provide jobs to apprentices, oversee training development, and provide hands-on learning and related technical instruction for apprentices.
Q: How is an apprenticeship different than a typical degree training program?
A: In a traditional educational program, the student takes coursework, earns a degree or credential, and then goes into the wok world seeking an employer who wants a person with the training they have. Apprenticeships work in the opposite order. In an apprenticeship, the employer identifies the exact training they want and connects their employee with that training. The apprentice can be confident the training will be valued and rewarded by their employer.
Q: At what point is a person officially an apprentice?
A: A person becomes an apprentice when they:
a. begin employment coupled with training,
b. under the guidance of a journey-level mentor,
c. with an employer enrolled in a registered apprenticeship,
d. and sign an apprentice indenture agreement.
Q: Where can I find technical assistance resources to help me develop and register my apprenticeship program?
A: Contact the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship
Mail: One Technology Court
Montgomery, AL 36116