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What is Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is a training strategy that...

  •  Combines supervised structured on the job training with related theoretical instruction and is sponsored by labor/management and employer groups that have the ability to hire and train in a work environment.
  • Prepares people for skilled employment by conducting training in a bona fide and documented employment settings.  The content of training, both on-the-job and related instruction, are defined and dictated by the needs of the specific occupation within an industry.  The length of training is determined by the needs of the specific occupation within an industry.  In the building trades, for example, some apprenticeship programs are as long as five years with up to 240 hours of related instruction per year.
  • Has requirements that are clearly delineated in Federal and State laws and regulations.  The National Apprenticeship Act of 1937 (also known as the Fitzgerald Act) and many State laws provide the basis for the operation of formal apprenticeship training programs in the U.S.: regulations that implement these laws are in force today.  These laws and regulations establish minimum requirements for protecting the welfare of the apprentice, such as the length of training, the type, and amount of related instruction, supervision of the apprentice, appropriate ratios of apprentices to journeypersons, apprentice selection and recruitment procedures, wage progression, safety, etc.
  • Is a contract that leads to a Certificate of Completion and official journeyperson status.  These credentials have explicit meaning, recognition and respect in the eyes of Federal and State governments and relevant industries.
  • Involves a tangible and generally sizable investment on the part of the labor/management and employer sponsored program.
  • Pays wages to its participants during the on-the-job training phase of their apprenticeship and that increases these wages throughout the training program in accordance with a predefined wage progression scale.
  • The participant learns by working directly under the supervision and tutelage of masters in the craft, trade, or relevant occupation area.
  • Involves a written agreement and an implicit social obligation between the program sponsor and the apprentice.  The written agreement, which is signed by both the apprentice and the program sponsor and is ratified by government, details the roles and responsibilities of each party.  It is the implicit social obligation of the labor/management and employer to employ the apprentice upon completion of training given the investment in training and gives the apprentice a reasonable right to expect such employment.  Labor market conditions should guide the size of training programs to enable each party to maintain his or her side of the obligation.