FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions2020-08-26T13:57:46+00:00
Who can be a Sponsor of a Registered Apprenticeship Program?2020-08-26T14:06:11+00:00

A wide variety of entities can be a sponsor of a registered apprenticeship program, including employers, state organizations, industry associations, educational organizations (both secondary and post-secondary), workforce development organizations, economic development organizations, community-based organizations, and others.

Who administers Registered Apprenticeship programs?2020-08-26T14:20:00+00:00

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 the success of Registered Apprenticeship

Where can I find technical assistance resources to help me develop and register my apprenticeship program?2020-08-26T13:45:25+00:00

Contact the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship
Phone: 334-280-4414
Mail: One Technology Court
Montgomery, AL 36116

What types of industry sectors will the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA) assist with Registered Apprenticeship?2020-08-26T14:25:32+00:00

Registered apprenticeship programs have been significantly modernized. 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.

What is Registered Apprenticeship?2020-08-26T14:07:14+00:00

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.

What is an employer’s role in Registered Apprenticeships?2020-08-26T13:43:19+00:00

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.

What is a sponsor’s role in Registered Apprenticeships?2020-08-26T13:51:31+00:00

Sponsors are responsible for a Registered Apprenticeship’s success. They recruit potential applicants and, in the case of consortium, employers as well. A sponsor’s goal is to make a large, diverse pool of applicants available for employers to hire from. They handle the administrative duties such as registering and completing apprentices, maintaining documentation and ensuring program compliance.

What are the basic program components of Registered Apprenticeship?2020-08-26T14:09:56+00:00

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 complements 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. Employers 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. 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.

What are the advantages of registering an apprenticeship program?2020-08-26T14:32:46+00:00

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 employers are investing in their workforce and that they believe employees are their most important asset.
  • Access to State and Federal Resources– 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. Business and apprentices can access funding and other resources from many federal programs to help support their Registered Apprenticeship programs.
  • Connection With Industry Peers- Apprenticeship sponsors and employers can gain access to employer communities on the local and national level. Apprenticeships offer a structured way for employers to work together.
Q. What are the minimum qualifications to apply to be in the apprenticeship?2023-08-30T18:23:50+00:00

A: The person must be a current employee of the school system in a paraprofessional role, be eligible to enroll in the education program at one of the participating EPPs, and have sufficient applicable and transferable coursework to be within two academic years of completing their degree. For details, review the work process documents for each participating university.

Q: Will this be open to Elementary and SPED in the future?**2024-01-17T21:16:43+00:00

A: This is a pilot program and depending on the success of the model, expansion may be possible for future cohorts.

**As of January ’24, elementary education is being added as an option for the first cohort. SpEd is still on hold as it will require a significantly different model.

Q: Who decides which applicants get to participate?2023-11-04T16:47:41+00:00

A: The application for apprenticeships is a multi-step process. The LEA serving as the employer selects the individuals they want to invest in as apprentices. The sponsors of the apprenticeship (universities) will review applications to their specific programs. The AOA will review final submissions for registration of apprentices and the ALSDE will review applications to determine eligibility for a teacher apprentice license.

Q: Which universities are participating in the pilot?2023-08-30T18:26:36+00:00

A: Auburn University Montgomery, Jacksonville State University, Troy University, and University of West Alabama

Q: What is the process for applying?2023-08-30T18:24:44+00:00

A: The application is multi-step and final details are being established. The basic steps will be as follows:

  • Apprentice candidates will download the application and complete basic demographics.
  • Apprentice candidates will submit their application to a participating EPP and request a transcript audit.
  • If the apprentice candidate meets apprenticeship academic requirements, the EPP will forward the application to the candidate’s LEA.
  • The LEA will decide if they want to select this person for apprenticeship.
  • If the LEA selects the candidate as an apprentice, they will transmit the application and recommendation back to the EPP.
  • The EPP will make a final review, register the apprentice in RAPIDS, and notify ALSDE.
  • ALSDE will receive a copy of the completed application, apprentice registration, and required documentation and will issue a Teacher Apprentice Certificate.
Q: What is the minimum requirement to be a journeyworker?2023-08-30T18:25:16+00:00

A: Journeyworkers must meet the same requirements as teacher who supervise interns: Master’s Degree and 3 years of experience. The journeyworker must also be teaching in the field for which the apprentice is studying.

Q: What is the maximum number of college credit hours an applicant must have remaining to apply for the Apprenticeship program?2023-08-30T18:28:07+00:00

A: The exact number of hours varies by university. See Related Technical Instruction (RTI) section of apprenticeship documents for detailed course listings. The apprentice must be able to complete their remaining coursework within two academic years to be eligible to participate.

Q: What if the funding for the 40 apprentices has been allocated? Can our system still participate?2023-08-30T18:20:46+00:00

A: Yes. The full-cost of participation will be the responsibility of the LEA.

Q: What factors should a school system consider when choosing which university to work with?2023-08-30T18:29:57+00:00

A: Consideration should be given to the existing relationships, the prior coursework of potential apprentices, overall cost of tuition, and the alignment of course offerings with apprentice availability.

Q: We have a former graduate who went straight to college and will be in his junior year in Fall of 2024. Can I hire him as an apprentice?2023-08-30T18:19:24+00:00

A: No, this is only for upskilling paraprofessionals who are already employed in the LEA.

Q: Is the apprentice allowed to coach/supervise extracurricular activities?2023-08-30T18:25:40+00:00

A: This is discouraged because of the workload, but it is ultimately up to the discretion of the employer/school system.

Q: If I have someone in mind for Fall of 24, what do I need to be doing now to prepare them to participate?2023-08-30T18:21:45+00:00

A: A potential apprentice could be having their transcript audited by one of the university partners to determine if they are within two years of completion or if they might need to take additional classes to be eligible for the apprenticeship.

Q: I have someone in mind who struggled to pass PRAXIS core but am wondering—might this be a good fit for him?2023-08-30T18:19:55+00:00

A: No. There will be an intense workload, and the apprentices must be strong students and employees. A struggling student would not be a good candidate for this program.

Q: How will the funding be disbursed?2023-08-30T18:21:16+00:00

A: Incentive funding will be disbursed on a first come, fist serve basis to LEAs. The application process details will be forthcoming. The funding will be issued in a lump sum at the beginning of the academic year for each cohort of apprentices. In year one, LEAs approved for incentive funding will receive $40,000 and in year two, they will receive $20,000.

Q: How much do journeyworkers (aka mentors) get paid?2023-08-30T18:31:24+00:00

A: In LEAs receiving incentive funds, the journeyworker will be paid a stipend of not less than $4,000 for year one and $3,000 for year two. These amounts may vary in LEAs who do not receive incentive funds from the AOA.

Q: How much do apprentices get paid?2023-08-30T18:31:03+00:00

A: Apprentices will be paid not less than 65% of base teacher pay in year one and 85% in year two. Currently, that would equate to $28,746.90 and $37,592.10. Upon completion, apprentices will make standard teacher pay.

Q: How many apprentices can our school district have?2023-08-30T18:20:24+00:00

A: Each LEA is eligible to receive incentive funding for up to two apprentices. There is no maximum number of apprentices per district that are locally funded.

Q: How does the Last Dollar Scholarship work?2023-08-30T18:28:56+00:00

A: AOA policy does not allow apprentices to incur debt for the cost of the apprenticeship training. Employers who participate in apprenticeship commit to pay the costs related to training after gift aid, Pell Grant, scholarships, GI Bill, and other similar aide is applied to the student’s bill. The relevant AOA policy can be found here. While not encouraged, employers may ask for work commitments from apprentices, within certain guidelines. Information on those guidelines may be found here.

Q: Does the 1 year experience as a Para or Aid have to be with the school system applying, or can you accept the Para or Aid’s experience from another school system if they transferred in this year?2023-08-30T18:27:32+00:00

A: The final decision on this will be left to the LEA, but it is strongly recommended that LEAs start with their own current employees.

Q: Do the apprentices earn tenure?2023-08-30T18:22:43+00:00

A: No. If the apprentice had tenure in their previous position, they do not give it up when they become an apprentice, but they cannot earn tenure as an apprentice.

Q: Can apprentice teachers serve as coaches?2023-08-30T18:30:36+00:00

A: This is an LEA decision. The AOA recommends careful consideration before allowing an apprentice teacher to coach because they will be committed already to working full-time and taking a full-time course load toward their bachelor’s degree.

Q: Can a school system participate with more than one university?2023-08-30T18:27:02+00:00

A: Yes, a school system can participate with one, some, or all the sponsoring universities.

How much money can an apprentice earn?2020-08-26T13:40:27+00:00

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.

How is apprenticeship different from other types of work-based training?2020-08-26T14:12:29+00:00

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
  • Training results in an industry-recognized credential
How is an apprenticeship different from a typical degree training program?2020-08-26T14:22:19+00:00

In a traditional educational program, the student takes coursework, earns a degree or credential, and then goes into the work 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.

How does a Registered Apprenticeship program benefit employers?2020-08-26T14:26:57+00:00

Apprenticeship programs provide a pipeline for highly skilled employees. Once established, apprenticeship programs also reduce turnover rates, increase productivity, lower the cost of recruitment, and increase safety in the workplace.

Do apprentices earn college credit while participating in a Registered Apprenticeship program?2020-08-26T14:27:52+00:00

Apprentices who receive related technical instruction from colleges complete credit-bearing coursework which may be utilized towards completion of a degree. Each apprenticeship is unique and may result in short-term or long-term certificates, industry credentials, or associate’s degrees.  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.

At what point is a person officially an apprentice?2020-08-26T13:44:49+00:00

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.

Are there other possible federal resources that can help support apprenticeship programs?2020-08-26T14:04:36+00:00

Other possible federal resources include:

  • WIOA (Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act)
  • GI Bill
  • Pell Grants
  • Federal Work Study
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