What is Apprenticeship

What Is Apprenticeship?

What is the purpose of the apprenticeship program?

  • The purpose of the registered apprenticeship program is to enable employers to develop and apply industry standards to training programs for registered apprentices that can increase productivity and improve the quality of the workforce. Apprentices who complete registered apprenticeship programs are accepted by the industry as journeyworkers. By providing on-the-job training, related classroom instruction, and guaranteed wage structures, employers who sponsor apprentices provide incentives to attract and retain more highly qualified employees and improve productivity. Certifications earned through registered apprenticeship programs are recognized nationwide.

How does the apprenticeship program work?

  • Employers can participate within an existing group program through program agreements called Participating Employer Agreements in merit shop programs, or called Collective Bargaining Agreements in union programs; or they can work with an Apprenticeship Training Representative (ATR) to develop a new program and sponsor it themselves. Sponsors of new programs define their own training standards with the assistance of experienced apprenticeship training representatives who monitor and coordinate the development and implementation of registered programs.
  • A single employer or a group of employers may choose to sponsor an apprenticeship program. Although sponsors define specific program standards, all registered programs must be aligned with industry occupational standards to provide authenticity and consistency in certification. Industry standards describe the skills to be mastered by workers to qualify for beginning-to-expert level occupations in various sectors of our nation’s economy. The more specific standards written by program sponsors also define the selection process, wages earned by apprentices as training progresses, length of time the employer will provide on-the-job training, and number of classroom instruction hours required.
  • Sponsors can elect to provide classroom instruction privately or enter into agreements with state-funded community colleges or school districts. Apprentices enrolled at public institutions are exempt from paying registration, matriculation, and lab fees. Unlike other workforce education programs offered at public institutions, sponsors select apprentices to participate in programs based on selection criteria that are defined in the program standards.
  • The length of an apprenticeship program varies from one to five years depending on occupation training requirements. In Florida, the majority of apprentices train in traditional construction programs such as electricity, plumbing, pipefitting, and heating and air conditioning installation and repair. However, there are many other programs that provide training for machinists, childcare workers, chefs, mechanics, information technology specialists, and other “non-traditional” trades.

Why would an employer choose to become an apprenticeship sponsor?

  • By sponsoring an apprenticeship program, employers can build employee loyalty, reduce the cost of training, attract more applicants, and improve productivity. Apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity for sponsors to share the costs of training through economy of scale and by using available federal and state resources to assist in developing and delivering training programs. Apprenticeship programs can attract more highly qualified applicants because they typically offer competitive entry-level wages for trainees and guarantee employment for a specific period of time. Employers have a direct influence on what apprentices learn through work processes and related classroom curriculum. Apprenticeship programs provide incentives that reduce absenteeism and turnover because apprentices are guaranteed increased wages as they progress through the program. The apprenticeship training program establishes a framework that can be utilized by employers for journeyworkers training regarding new applications and new materials in the industry.

How do employers become apprenticeship program sponsors?

  • Florida employers interested in sponsoring an apprenticeship program should contact the Apprenticeship Section. The office provides information about new and existing programs throughout the state. Employers can become a sponsor in an existing program or can work with apprenticeship training representatives to develop a new program. Sponsors of new programs define their own training standards with the assistance of experienced apprenticeship training representatives who monitor and coordinate the development and implementation of registered programs.

Apprenticeship in the News

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a study entitled "An Effectiveness Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Registered Apprenticeship in 10 States." Florida is one of the 10 states participating in this study.

The study's principal findings were:

  • Registered Apprenticeship (RA) participants had substantially higher earnings than did non-participants. Estimated over a career of 36 years, individuals who participated in RA would have estimated average earnings gains of $98,718 ($123,906 with employer benefits). Assuming costs such as taxes apprentices pay on earnings gains, the estimated net benefits for RA participants are $96,911. For those who not only participated in RA but also completed the RA program, the average earnings gains were substantially higher: $240,037 ($301,533 with employer benefits). After accounting for costs, the net benefits for RA completers are $233,828.
  • The social benefits of the RA program appear to be much larger than the social costs. Over the career of an apprentice, the estimated social benefits of RA exceed the social costs by more than $49,000.
  • Female apprentices expressed positive views of RA but recommended some changes to promote women's success. Researchers found that women participate in RA at lower rates than men and are concentrated in social service occupations (mainly child care and health care). In the 2010 cohort, women made up only nine (9) percent of new apprentices. Women are much less likely than men to enroll in the traditional skilled trades and, when they do, they are less likely than men to complete RA. The women interviewed see their participation in RA as a pathway to career advancement and higher pay. Those interviewed suggested strategies to enhance the success of women in RA.

The complete study (PDF) is available for viewing, or you may access the ETA Research Publication Database to see a complete list of research publications.

How does one become an apprentice?

  • Potential candidates must apply for registered apprentice positions. Admission requirements and eligibility vary by program because program sponsors define them according to their specific training needs. However, federal rules define minimum requirements and mandate that selection criteria be job related.
  • Persons wishing to participate in registered apprenticeship programs should ask their current employer about apprenticeship opportunities. They can also contact the Apprenticeship Section, inquire at regional CareerSource Centers, and investigate what is offered through local community colleges or technical centers. Apprenticeship programs are offered nationwide. To find programs outside Florida, they can contact the Regional Offices of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration.
  • Today in Florida, there are approximately 200 registered programs and 9,172 apprentices participating in these programs.

Who oversees the approval of apprenticeship programs?

  • The Florida Department of Education, Division of Career and Adult Education, Apprenticeship Section is authorized to implement and oversee apprenticeship programs for state and local purposes. Apprenticeship training representatives serve approximately 200 active programs throughout the state. They assist sponsors with program service delivery statewide. Florida's State Apprenticeship Advisory Council represents the apprenticeship community, advising the Department on matters relating to registered apprenticeship programs.

Who participates in the apprenticeship program?

  • During the Calendar Year ending (January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015), the Apprenticeship Section registered 4,595 apprentices; 1,216 apprentices completed the program. Nine new programs were developed and 9,172 apprentices were registered that year. There are 200 active registered apprenticeship programs in the state of Florida.

What are the major expenditures of the apprenticeship program?

  • Although some sponsors of registered apprenticeship programs provide their own classroom instruction, many program sponsors partner with local school districts and community colleges. Florida contributes funds to apprenticeship programs through a provision in the General Appropriations Act that allocates base and performance funding to workforce programs through aid to local governments (community colleges and school districts).