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.
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
Contact the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship
Mail: One Technology Court
Montgomery, AL 36116
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other possible federal resources include:
- WIOA (Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act)
- GI Bill
- Pell Grants
- Federal Work Study