An apprenticeship is a job in which an individual is paid to learn a set of skills through on-the-job learning. In the United States, a formal system of Registered Apprenticeships was created in 1937 by the National Apprenticeship Act and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor and the individual states. With an apprenticeship, a sponsor of an apprenticeship registers its program and its apprentices with the federal government or a delegated state agency. For each apprenticeable occupation, a set of requirements details the duration and competency standards necessary for completion. When an apprentice completes these requirements, the government issues a certificate of completion that then serves as a nationally-recognized, portable credential.
Unlike internships, in which individuals work for little or no money and rarely receive formal training, apprenticeships follow an earn-while-you-learn model. They are real jobs with extensive on-the-job and classroom-based learning plus wages that increase as skills are mastered. Apprenticeships are run by employers, employer associations, labor management organizations or intermediaries such as IAA.
Costs of apprenticeship are usually borne by the employer or labor organization, often with financial support from the U.S. Department of Labor, state departments of labor, and other state and private funding for workforce development. In exchange for that investment, employers receive a pipeline of skilled workers steeped in the culture of the employer and with a strong loyalty to their sponsors. Retention rates are significantly greater than those experienced by employers without an apprenticeship model. On the next page, you'll find more information about how employers benefit from apprenticeship versus traditional hiring methods.
Below is a diagram depicting the five core components of a Registered Apprenticeship, followed by downloadable articles on successful apprenticeship models. In addition, at the bottom of this page you will find a video that explains the apprenticeship process from beginning to end.
You may be wondering at this point what an apprenticeship program will cost your organization. Click on the button below to learn more about return on investment for Registered Apprenticeship programs.
The documents below explain Registered Apprenticeship (RA) and give examples of successful RA models. To view, click on the name of the file. To download, click on the Download link.
Perhaps the best way to understand Registered Apprenticeship is to experience it through the eyes of the apprentice and the employer. Produced by DHMC, the video documents a Medical Assisting Registered Apprenticeship program developed by IAA for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Another form of apprenticeship program, known as an industry-recognized apprenticeship program (IRAP), has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. IAA has been selected by the Office of Apprenticeship to approve IRAPs. If you would like more information about whether an IRAP may be a good fit for your organization, click on the About IRAP button below.