By Margaret Hansen
Looking for entry-level employees? Why not try a Registered Apprenticeship program?
A tradition for trades such as plumbing, apprenticeships take internships a step further with formalized requirements and education with the outcome of national certification. Today, some surprising occupations are showing up on their rosters in business, retail, healthcare, hospitality and other growing industries.
Industries and Occupations
With more than 1,000 apprentice-able occupations registered with the federal government, apprentices can choose from a broad range of career paths. Many employers can take advantage of these programs and use them as a recruiting tool.
Most apprenticeships are in the construction, manufacturing, transportation, and service industries. Today, some new and surprising occupations include:
- Pharmacy technician
- Medical assistant
- Business manager
- Laboratory technician
- Floral designer
- Customer service representative
- Computer programmer
- Childhood education home provider (day care/preschool provider)
How Apprenticeships Work
Sponsored by employers, employer associations, or labor/management groups that can hire and train in a working situation, apprenticeships offer paid positions to employees but, more importantly, they offer on-the-job training and career-related formal education.
Employers work closely with their State apprenticeship representatives to establish training standards for their program, which may include:
- An on-the-job training outline
- Related classroom instruction curriculum
- Apprenticeship program procedures
There are no exams for apprentices and no extensive paperwork involved for the employer. Instead, the sponsor/employer agrees to train the apprentice to the minimum standard as outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Benefits to Employers
- Greater competence of employees
- Reduced turnover rates
- Greater employee retention
- Higher productivity
- Improved quality of products, services and patient care
- More diverse workforce
- Loyalty among employees who perform as productive team members
- Employee skills that are tailored to fit your workplace
- The recruitment and retention of a highly qualified workforce
There is no fee to establish a Registered Apprenticeship program. The employer pays the apprentices for the work they perform and the apprentice is ultimately responsible for the educational costs. The employee may be partially reimbursed for tuition by the state apprenticeship office or by the employer's tuition reimbursement program.
Promoting to Potential Employees
An apprenticeship provides work-based training and education, with pay, and leads to recognized credentials with an outcome of national certification. As an employer, you can use your program as a recruiting tool and post your apprenticeship opportunities just like you would post a job.
Here's what's in it for apprentices:
- Nationally recognized and portable certificates
- Improved skills and competencies
- Increased wages as a result of mastered competencies
- Ability to advance in a career
- Higher self-esteem based on enhanced skills and certifications
The average term for apprenticeships can last anywhere from 24 to 60 months, with 144 hours of formal education per year in career-related subjects - a great way for students to work their way through college or technical school with an established job upon graduation.
Learn more about standards, occupations and employer resources at the U.S. Department of Labor's Registered Apprentice website.