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Registered Apprenticeship Frequently Asked Questions

What is Registered Apprenticeship?

Registered Apprenticeship programs meet the skilled workforce needs of American industry, training millions of qualified individuals for lifelong careers since 1937. Registered Apprenticeship helps mobilize America's workforce with structured, on-the-job learning in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, as well as new emerging industries such as health care, information technology, energy, telecommunications and more. Registered Apprenticeship connects job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers looking for qualified workers, resulting in a workforce with industry-driven training and employers with a competitive edge.

What are the minimum requirements for becoming a Registered Apprentice?

Registered apprenticeship program sponsors identify the minimum qualifications to apply into their apprenticeship program. The eligible starting age can be no less than 16 years of age; however, individuals must usually be 18 to be an apprentice in hazardous occupations. Program sponsors may also identify additional minimum qualifications and credentials to apply, e.g., education, ability to physically perform the essential functions of the occupation, proof of age. All applicants are required to meet the minimum qualifications. Based on the selection method utilized by the sponsor, additional qualification standards, such as fair aptitude tests and interviews, school grades, and previous work experience may be identified.

Who operates Registered Apprenticeship programs?

Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors (e.g. employers, employer associations and labor management organizations) vary from small, privately owned businesses to national employer and industry associations.
 
How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit sponsors?

In addition to available tax benefits and workforce development grants in some states, Registered Apprenticeship benefits employers and sponsors by providing them with a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience. Registered Apprenticeship programs are customizable to match employers' needs, and highly flexible to always to meet employers' changing requirements.

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit states, regions and communities?

Registered Apprenticeship programs mean a more highly skilled workforce. Nationally certified employees give your state, region or community a competitive edge, attract companies, increase wages and ultimately increase tax revenue. Because apprentices pay income taxes on their wages, it is estimated that every dollar the federal government invests yields more than $100 in revenues.

How Many Occupations are Apprenticeable?

Nationwide, there are registered apprenticeship programs for over 1000 occupations and that number continually grows. A few of the traditional skilled occupations in which apprentices are being trained are: automotive technician, baker, bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, machinist, maintenance mechanic, operating engineer, painter, roofer, sheet metal worker, structural steel worker, and tool and die maker. However, there are many other occupations that have apprenticeship programs. Examples of these occupations are computer programmer, computer service mechanic, dairy technologist, dental assistant, electronics technician, environment analyst, fire fighter, horticulturist, insurance claims adjuster, laboratory technician, optical technician, wastewater treatment plant operator, chef, and many others.

Who are our partners?

Through a proven system of public-private partnerships, Registered Apprenticeship partners with a wide range of organizations including (but not limited to):
  • Businesses, employer and industry associations
  • Labor management organizations
  • State and local workforce development agencies and programs
  • Two- and four-year colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degrees in conjunction with apprenticeship certificates
  • U.S. military
  • Community leaders and economic development organizations

How does Registered Apprenticeship benefit individuals?

From day one, apprentices receive a paycheck that is guaranteed to increase as their training progresses. Apprentices also complete a combination of industry-specific classroom education and hands-on career training leading to nationally recognized certifications.

How Many Occupations are Apprenticeable?

Nationwide, there are registered apprenticeship programs for over 1000 occupations and that number continually grows. A few of the traditional skilled occupations in which apprentices are being trained are: automotive technician, baker, bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, machinist, maintenance mechanic, operating engineer, painter, roofer, sheet metal worker, structural steel worker, and tool and die maker. However, there are many other occupations that have apprenticeship programs. Examples of these occupations are computer programmer, computer service mechanic, dairy technologist, dental assistant, electronics technician, environment analyst, fire fighter, horticulturist, insurance claims adjuster, laboratory technician, optical technician, wastewater treatment plant operator, chef, and many others. The Office of Apprenticeship provides a list of the officially recognized apprenticeable occupations. See www.iowaworkforce.org/apprenticeship.

How long are Apprenticeship programs?

The length of an apprenticeship program depends on the complexity of the occupation and the type of program (Time Based, Competency Based, or a Hybrid). Apprenticeship programs range from 1 year to 6 years, but the majority are 4 years in length. During the program, the apprentice receives both structured, on-the-job learning (OJL) and related classroom instruction (RTI). For each year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will receive normally 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a recommended minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction.
 
What is the link between RA and the Workforce Development System?

The 21st century economy demands a workforce with postsecondary education credentials, and the adaptability to respond immediately to changing economic and business needs. The public workforce system is playing a leadership role in meeting these demands by catalyzing the implementation of innovative talent development and lifelong learning strategies that will enable American workers to advance their skills and remain competitive in the global economy. Registered Apprenticeship, a critical postsecondary education, training, and employment option available in every state in the country, is an important component of these talent development strategies. Registered Apprenticeship is business- and industry-driven, with more than 29,000 programs impacting 250,000 employers and almost 450,000 apprentices - predominantly in high-growth industries that face critical skilled worker shortages now and in the foreseeable future. Full collaboration between the publicly funded workforce investment system and Registered Apprenticeship leverages each system's strengths to maximize the benefits in the context of regional talent development strategies.

For more detailed information, this Training and Employment Guidance Letter ((TEGL) provides information, examples, and policy guidance to support the full integration of Registered Apprenticeship into workforce system activities. The document is one of a number of products that the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is releasing to assist regions in developing Workforce Investment Act and apprenticeship efforts that are mutually supportive.

Registered Apprenticeship programs are operated by partnerships of employers, labor management organizations and government. Apprenticeship sponsors - employers, employer associations and labor management organizations - register programs with federal and state government agencies. Sponsors provide mentors, on-the-job learning opportunities and required technical instruction to apprentices.

Incorporating Registered Apprenticeship directly into your workforce development system will strengthen your local and regional economy by developing highly trained and educated residents. It will also help your state meet important performance goals for workforce development. Let Registered Apprenticeship be your competitive advantage.

How will Registered Apprenticeship improve performance for most major workforce development programs?

Registered Apprenticeship can have a positive impact on each of the following common measures for workforce development programs:
  • Adult Measures
  • Entered employment
  • Employment retention
  • Average earnings
  • Youth Measures
  • Placement in employment or education
  • Attainment of degree or certificate
  • Literacy/numeracy gains

For more detailed information, this Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) provides information, examples, and policy guidance to support the full integration of Registered Apprenticeship into workforce system activities. The document is one of a number of products that the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is releasing to assist regions in developing Workforce Investment Act and apprenticeship efforts that are mutually supportive.

Are there specific apprentice and or training programs that are actually approved by the State of Iowa? If so, are there specific crafts for which the State of Iowa approves training or apprentice programs? How are the programs approved? What is the training actually provided?

In Iowa all registered apprenticeship programs are approved by the USDOL/Office of Apprenticeship. Nationwide, there are registered apprenticeship programs for over 1000 occupations and that number continually grows. A few of the traditional skilled occupations in which apprentices are being trained are: automotive technician, baker, bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, machinist, maintenance mechanic, operating engineer, painter, roofer, sheet metal worker, structural steel worker, and tool and die maker. However, there are many other occupations that have apprenticeship programs. Examples of these occupations are computer programmer, computer service mechanic, dairy technologist, dental assistant, electronics technician, environment analyst, fire fighter, horticulturist, insurance claims adjuster, laboratory technician, optical technician, wastewater treatment plant operator, chef, and many others.

The Office of Apprenticeship provides a list of the officially recognized apprenticeable occupations. There are general guidelines for developing procedures and standards recommended by the Office of Apprenticeship (OA). There are published bulletins for every occupations approved by the office of apprenticeship. Apprenticeship Representatives from the Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Department of Labor, or from State Apprenticeship Agencies, are ready and willing to provide knowledgeable assistance in the development of apprenticeship programs, in the State of Iowa the Apprenticeship and Training Representative working with the sponsor will develop the standards of apprenticeship for the Sponsor and/or provide all technical assistance. There are Community and Private Colleges, Vocational Schools, Correspondence Courses, Organizations at the State, county and municipal levels who will assist in arranging for the necessary related instruction courses.

Through a proven system of public-private partnerships, Registered Apprenticeship partners with a wide range of organizations including (but not limited to):
  • Businesses, employer and industry associations
  • Labor management organizations
  • State and local workforce development agencies and programs
  • Two- and four-year colleges that offer associate and bachelor's degrees in conjunction with apprenticeship certificates
  • U.S. military
  • Community leaders and economic development organizations

Is there any type of restriction on apprenticeship programs regarding membership with a specific employer or labor/union group or is the training/apprenticeship open to all applicants?

Apprenticeship programs are operated by both the public and private sectors. Apprenticeship programs that are registered with the office of apprenticeship are called sponsors. A sponsor of a registered apprenticeship program may be employers, employer associations, and labor-management organizations. Recently Community Colleges, Workforce Development Centers, Faith, and Community Based Organizations have collaborated with business and industry to develop registered apprenticeship programs through sponsoring employer-participation agreements. The sponsor of an apprenticeship program plans, administers and usually pays for the program. Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors (e.g. employers, employer associations and labor management organizations) vary from small, privately owned businesses to national employer and industry associations. Apprenticeship programs are operated by both the public and private sectors. Apprenticeship sponsors, who are employers, employer associations and labor-management organizations, register programs with federal and state government agencies. Sponsors provide on-the-job learning and academic instruction to apprentices according to their industry standards and licensing requirements (if applicable). Registered Apprenticeship is open to all applicants.

Is there an advantage or benefit conferred by State of Iowa apprenticeship/training programs? If so, what are those advantages and benefits?

Regions that adopt robust Registered Apprenticeship programs in the context of economic development strategies create seamless pipelines of skilled workers and flexible career pathways to meet current and future workforce demands. Registered Apprenticeship programs mean a more highly skilled workforce. Certified employees give our state, region or community a competitive edge, attract companies, increase wages and ultimately increase tax revenue. Because apprentices pay income taxes on their wages, it is estimated that every dollar the federal government invests in apprenticeship yields more than $100 in revenues.

Advantages and Benefits for the Apprentice:
Skilled work pays more than unskilled work. That is why apprenticeships lead to higher wages. Apprenticeship graduates usually advance more rapidly than other workers, so higher-paying jobs come more quickly. Some apprentices move into supervisory positions within just a few years of completion of apprenticeship.

A paycheck: from day one, apprentices will earn a paycheck guaranteed to increase over time as they learn new skills.

Hands-on career training: an apprentice will receive practical on-the-job training in a wide selection of programs, such as health care, construction, information technology and geospatial careers to name a few.

An education: an apprentice receives hands-on training and has the potential to earn college credit, even an associate or bachelor's degree.

A career: once apprentices complete their apprenticeship, they will be on their way to a successful long-term career with a competitive salary, and little or no educational debt.

National industry certification: when apprentices graduate from a registered apprenticeship career training program, they will be certified and can take their certification anywhere in the U.S.

Recognizable partners: many of the nation's most recognizable companies, such as CVS/pharmacy, UPS, ALCOA and TMC Trucking have Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Advantages and Benefits for the Employer:
Employers experience benefits in two categories: economic and intrinsic. The economic benefits are derived from your eligibility to pay apprentice wages (usually 40% - 50 % of journey worker wages). Registered apprenticeship sponsors are also exempted from paying overtime to apprentices for the related instruction portion of their training. Furthermore, many sponsors report reduced turnover. We believe this is because the apprentice knows that the employer values trained employees; thus, employee morale is improved.

The intrinsic benefits are many. Overall, apprentices in registered training programs know they have jobs in the future. By working for an employer who values lifelong learning, apprentices become invested in improving their skills and in achieving a Certificate of Completion which is a nationally recognized credential. Because apprentices not only learn the techniques of the occupation, they also understand why they do what they do. They become good problem solvers, work better as team members and demonstrate better interpersonal skills. Apprentices become skilled, motivated craft workers with a strong work ethic who are well versed in company policy. They average better attendance, possess the latest technological skills, fill critical needs for skilled workers in the face of retirements and the need to be highly productive with a reduced workforce. Apprentices become skilled workers, flexible and productive, who are dedicated to the industry and the employer.

Apprenticeship equals trained employees. By combining on-the-job training with classroom instruction, apprenticeship provides an employer with fully-trained employees. It creates better skilled workers for the company by providing skill training and job-related theory to meet the company’s needs. Participating in an apprenticeship program ensures that the company will have employees that are trained to industry standards, as well as the company’s needs.

Apprenticeship means fewer turnovers. Invest in employees and they will invest in the company. When employer commits to training the workforce, they will see employee motivation increase, improvements in overall work ethics and increased employee loyalty. Training apprentices in their business creates skilled and experienced employees, many of whom will stay with the employer for the long term.

Apprenticeship saves money. Although many employers pay for apprenticeship training, the actual cost to company is minimal. The program includes both classroom and on-the-job training, so apprentices will be producing for the employer while they learn. The result is employees ready to contribute to your bottom line. Also, if the business is in a field requiring licensing, when the apprentices finish the program, they are prepared for the exam.
Apprenticeship improves productivity. The completion of an apprenticeship program results in highly trained professionals who contribute noticeably to the employers bottom line and ensures a high level of quality production. Their knowledge, skills, and on the job experience enables them to develop a thorough understanding of the business needs and how best to meet them.

Registered Apprenticeship helps provide career opportunities. The apprenticeship program is the best way to train qualified individuals by providing career opportunities and trained people. This means companies/business will have trained employees when they need them. It will also raise the overall status of their industry.

What is meant by “active, registered apprentices”? Does the State register all apprentices for all crafts?

Active Registered Apprentices are apprentices who are still in a Registered Apprenticeship Program. In Iowa All apprentices in a USDOL Registered Apprenticeship program are registered in our National System known as Registered Apprenticeship Partner Information Data System (RAPIDS).

Can apprentice/training programs be valid and State of Iowa approved even without a graduate in each of the preceding three calendar years?

Yes. (See Question Below.) Registered Apprenticeship Programs are approved and registered by the USDOL/OA.

What is the duration of training/apprenticeship programs? How long must an employee be in a craft prior to graduating from the training/apprentice program?

The length of an apprenticeship program depends on the complexity of the occupation and the type of program (Time Based, Competency Based, or a Hybrid). Apprenticeship programs range from 1 year to 6 years, but the majority are 4 years in length. During the program, the apprentice receives both structured, on-the-job learning (OJL) and related classroom instruction (RTI). For each year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will receive normally 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a recommended minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction.

Time-Based Requirements
A time-based occupation requires a minimum of 2,000 hours, which includes an outline of the specific work processes and the approximate time requirement for each individual work process under that occupation.

Competency/Performance Program Requirements
Competency/performance based apprenticeship programs are premised on attainment of demonstrated, observable and measurable competencies in lieu of meeting time based work experience and on-the-job learning. However, these programs still have to comply with the requirement for the allocation of the approximate time to be spent in each major process. Therefore, work experience process schedules and related instruction outlines must specify approximate time of completion or attainment of each competency, which can be applied toward the 2,000-hour requirement (competencies demonstrated not withstanding and assuming no credit for previous experience). In competency/performance based programs apprentices may accelerate the rate of competency achievement or take additional time beyond the approximate time of completion or attainment due the open entry and exit design. Competency is defined as, “An observable, measurable pattern of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully.” Competency/performance based training programs have the following characteristics:

  • Competencies should be identified and defined through a job/task analysis and directly related to the job/role.
  • Organized learning activities should be structured and wherever possible, self-paced with open entry and open exit.
  • Measures or tests of competency attainment should be observable, repeatable and agreed to in advance.
  • Work experience process schedules and related instruction outlines should include the approximate time/hours or minimum - maximum times/hours for each competency attained in order to document successful completion.

Hybrid Program Requirements
In addition to time-based programs which have a fixed set time for completion (i.e., 2,000, 4,000, 6,000 hours) and competency/performance based programs, a third alternative has evolved which, in effect, is a “hybrid” of the two types of programs previously mentioned. This third type of program is basically a combination of time and performance considerations whereby work processes are developed with a minimum - maximum time/hours for each task or job requirement (i.e., minimum 200 hours maximum 400 hours).

How does the state’s programs interact or relate to any U.S. Department of Labor programs?

The economy demands a workforce with postsecondary education credentials, and the adaptability to respond immediately to changing economic and business needs. The Iowa workforce system is playing a leadership role in meeting these demands by catalyzing the implementation of innovative talent development and lifelong learning strategies that will enable Iowa workers to advance their skills and remain competitive in the global economy. The State offers limited funding (260 F) to registered apprenticeship sponsors. Iowa workforce and the office of apprenticeship has been recognized nationally for our integration efforts.

Registered Apprenticeship can have a positive impact on each of the following common measures for workforce development programs:
  • Adult Measures
  • Entered employment
  • Employment retention
  • Average earnings
  • Youth Measures
  • Placement in employment or education
  • Attainment of degree or certificate
  • Literacy/numeracy gains

 
 

 
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