|Employer Technical Assistance
Creating an Apprenticeship Training Program
One of the most challenging aspects of owning a business is finding
and retaining good employees. Constant turn-over is a financial
drain on companies and over time can affect company morale. You
won't be surprised to know that "high school youth between the
ages of 18 and 27 who did not enroll in post-secondary education
held approximately six different jobs and experienced four to five
periods of unemployment."1 Entry-level
jobs that aren't rooted in training and the future promise of a
career become simply temporary stops in a search for a profession.
What many employers don't realize, however, is the possibility
of creating an apprenticeship training program to ensure committed,
skilled, long-term employees. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau
of Apprenticeship and Training lists over 900 federally approved
but only 43 such occupations are currently available in Alaska.
Not only are the available apprenticeship opportunities underutilized,
the present apprenticeships are also almost exclusively in the
building trades industries. Real opportunities for new apprenticeship
programs exist in the areas of health care, childcare, seafood
processing, tourism, oil and gas exploration, timber, mining, and
social service providers. There is a demonstrated need for skilled
workers in these areas and employers should seriously consider
developing apprenticeship programs for these occupations.
The apprenticeship system offers not just a job, but a career.
It attracts better applicants and improves employer-employee relationships.
During the period of training, employers can instill values such
as company loyalty, good work practices, and positive work attitudes.
In addition, it ensures training standards of the trade are met
while improving training standards in the industry. Employers can
evaluate potential employees in a work setting prior to hiring
them. When the training is completed and apprentices become employees,
they have little trouble fitting into the company because they
already have a good grasp of the company's values and work requirements.
With the promise of a future, apprentices become valuable, committed
employees capable of advancing to more responsible positions within
Sponsoring an Apprenticeship Training Program
Apprenticeship training is a method that combines actual work
experience with classroom related instruction and produces a worker
skilled in the occupation who is capable of exercising independent
judgment and who subscribes to the highest standards of professional
conduct. There is a written agreement between the apprentice and
the employer that acknowledges their joint commitment to the training
process. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprenticeship
and Training approves this agreement. Registration of your apprenticeship
training program guarantees that your workforce will be consistently
trained at the highest skill levels, that your program will be
nationally recognized, and that you are entitled to the benefits
of registered apprenticeship under U.S. Department of Labor's laws
Benefits of Sponsoring an Apprenticeship Program
There are both economic and intrinsic benefits. The economic benefits
are derived from paying apprentice wages (usually 40%-50% of journey
worker wages). Registered apprenticeship sponsors are also exempt
from paying overtime to apprentices for the related instruction
portion of their training. Also, you may be entitled to tax credits
if you hire people who meet specific criteria or if your business
is located in specific areas. Further, and perhaps most importantly,
sponsors experience reduced turnover. We believe this is because
the apprentice knows that the employer values trained employees
- thus, employee morale is increased.
There are many benefits for employers and potential employees.
Foremost, 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 by achieving a Certificate of Completion - a nationally
recognized credential that will qualify them to work in their field
anywhere in the country. Apprentices learn in a practical way through
a structured, systematic program of on-the-job supervised training.
Because apprentices not only learn the techniques of a trade but
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, who
average better attendance, who possess the latest technological
skills and who fill critical needs for skilled workers. Apprentices
become skilled craft workers, flexible and productive, who are
dedicated to the industry and the specific employer.
Choosing an Apprentice
Your apprentices are your employees. As such, they must meet your
minimum qualifications. You set the standard. If you should choose
to do so, you can award credit for prior education and experience
to potential candidates. All this enables you to be in control
of the apprentice selection process.
You may choose to train as many apprentices as your business will
allow as long as you continue to meet the ratio of skilled workers
to apprentices that has been established by the Department. This
ratio is designed to ensure that the safety of the apprentices
and the quality of the training are maintained at the highest levels.
Types of Registered Apprenticeship Training Programs
Registered apprenticeship training programs may be conducted by
a single employer, a group of employers, or jointly by a union
and employer(s), called a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee
(JATC). There are many apprenticeable occupations, in both construction
and non-construction fields. Today, apprenticeship is expanding
to health-related, new technology, high performance manufacturing,
and service occupations.
The first step in the process of registering an apprentice-training
program is to contact:
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship
605 West 4th Avenue, Room G30
Anchorage, AK 99501
Telephone: (907) 271-5035
Fax: (907) 271-5024
The BAT will review the occupation, your training needs, and your
ability to meet quality standards and training requirements. Be
assured that your labor representative has the information and
technical experience to guide you through the process. You'll be
pleased to know that the application is short and there are minimal
paperwork requirements for this program.
Apprenticeship Program Registration
Apprenticeship programs are registered with the BAT. The office
approves and registers apprenticeship and training agreements.
It oversees the apprenticeship programs' affirmative action plans;
and more than mere passive nondiscrimination, they look for actions
that will equalize opportunity in apprenticeship so as to allow
full utilization of the work potential of minorities and females.
Each apprenticeship program is governed by a set of standards
approved by the BAT. These include:
- full and fair opportunity to apply for apprenticeship;
- a schedule of work processes in which an apprentice is to
receive training and experience on the job;
- the program includes organized instruction designed to provide
apprentices with knowledge in technical subjects related to their
trade (e.g., a minimum of 144 hours per year is normally considered
- a progressively increasing schedule of wages;
- proper supervision of on-the-job training with adequate facilities
to train apprentices;
- apprentice's progress, both in job performances and related
instruction, is evaluated periodically and appropriate records
- no discrimination in any phase of selection, employment, or
There is no cost for program registration. The BAT offers technical
assistance in program design, paperwork completion, and application
submittal. They will provide ongoing operational assistance and
will be a constant resource for the apprenticeship sponsor. Additionally,
for each occupation title, there is a corresponding training outline.
The outlines have been standardized and are provided to you in
The registered apprentice is required to attend classroom-related
instruction each year of their apprenticeship. The BAT will assist
you with educational resources. Generally, the employer bears the
cost of the related instruction. This is offset by the fact that
you are paying the apprentices less money than your skilled workers.
For registration of a program, the apprenticeship
standards are required to identify and include the following:
- Skilled Craft or Occupation:
- Term of Training: ____ Hrs.
- Wage objective consistent with the skill required. Journeyman
wage rate per hour:
- Private: $____
- Davis Bacon: $____
- A progressively increasing schedule of wages during training
period: the entry wage should not be less than the required minimum
wage. We recommend training periods of 1,000 hours or 6-month
- The need to identify a ratio of apprentices to journeymen to
be consistent with proper supervision, training, safety, and
continuity of employment.
- Ratio of apprentices to journeymen: 1:1 and 1: __ per
- To satisfy equal employment requirements, it is necessary to
identify your minimum qualifications for entry into apprenticeship.
Check items that apply.
- ____ grade education or certified equivalency.
- Be at least 18 years of age (16 years of age for approved
- Be physically fit for the trade, without regard to any
occupationally irrelevant physical handicap.
- Probationary Period
- An outline of the work process in which the apprentice will
receive supervised work experience and training on the job.
- Related Instruction Source Name:
- Method of Training: ( )Classroom ( ) Shop ( ) Correspondence
( ) Other
- Sponsor's Signature:
J.R., & Weiss,
Education and the work histories of young adults.
Monthly Labor Review, 116(4),
Back to top