Registered apprenticeship programs may be sponsored by individual businesses, trade associations or other industry groups, or through joint partnership agreements with labor organizations. Alaska apprenticeship programs are registered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development works closely with the USDOL office and with apprenticeship programs.
A key difference between registered apprenticeship and other forms of training is that a registered apprentice is a paid employee from the start of the program. Although an apprentice's wages usually begin at a lower level than those of incumbent workers (although not less than the minimum wage), the wages must increase as the apprentice progresses through the program, based on a schedule outlined in a written agreement between the employer and the apprentice. The employer must designate a qualified mentor to supervise and train the apprentice.
Companies are not required by law to register their apprenticeship programs, but those who do can demonstrate that their program has been reviewed by the U.S. Department of Labor, and as such may have access to federal and state resources not made available to unregistered programs.
For example, an employer who registers his or her program may be eligible to receive partial reimbursement for the time spent training/mentoring an apprentice, through state or federal workforce training funds. If an apprentice is also a veteran, he or she may be able to use GI Bill benefits while completing the apprenticeship program.
Invest in your employees and they will invest in you. When you commit to training your workforce, you will see employee motivation increase, improvements in overall work ethics and increased employee loyalty. Training apprentices in your business creates skilled and experienced employees, many of whom will stay with you for the long term.
Although you pay for apprenticeship training, the actual cost to you is minimal. The program includes both classroom and on-the-job training, so apprentices will be producing for you while they learn. The result is employees ready to contribute to your bottom line. Also, if your business is in a field requiring licensing, when your employees finish the program, they are prepared for the exam.
The completion of an apprenticeship program results in highly trained professionals who contribute noticeably to your 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 your business needs and how best to meet them.
The apprenticeship program is the best way to train qualified individuals by providing career opportunities and trained people in your industry. This means you will have trained employees when you need them. It will also raise the overall status of your industry.
Plan for the Future
As the number of people turning sixty-five, fueled by the aging of the "Baby Boomer" generation surpasses the number of people turning eighteen due to low birth rates and slowing migration patterns. Consequently, the number of workers entering the labor force will not be sufficient to replace those ending their working careers. Implementing an apprenticeship program in your business will assist you to be better able to plan and met your future workforce needs, ensuring that you have a pool of experienced employees of different ages within your company.