Why are Apprenticeships making a huge comeback?

In June 2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” This Executive Order contained several important tasks and requirements to help modernize America’s education systems and workforce development programs by expanding apprenticeships.

Q:  What is apprenticeship? Is an apprenticeship a job?

A:  Yes! Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential. 

Q: How is apprenticeship different from other types of work-based training models?

A: Apprenticeship training is distinguished from other types of workplace training by several factors:

(1) Apprenticeships are jobs! Apprentices earn wages from their employers during training; 

(2) Apprenticeship programs provide on-the-job learning and job-related classroom training;

(3) On-the-job learning is conducted in the work setting under the direction of a mentor(s); and  

(4) Training results in an industry-recognized and portable credential. 

Q: What is the difference between an apprenticeship and an internship?

The U.S. Department of Labor does not have an official definition of internship or externship. However, generally speaking, differences between internships and apprenticeships include:

1)   Length of Time: Internships are usually short term (1-3 months) and apprenticeships are longer term (1-3 years).

2)      Structure:

a.     Apprenticeships include a structured training plan, with a focus on mastering specific skills an employer needs to fill an occupation within their organization.

b.     Internships aren’t structured and often focus on entry-level general work experience.

3)    Mentorship: Apprentices receive individualized training with an experienced mentor who walks them through their entire process. Internships do not always include mentorship.

4)    Pay: Apprenticeships are paid experiences that often lead to full-time employment. Internships are often unpaid and may not lead to a full-time job.

5)    Credential: Apprenticeships lead to an industry-recognized credential. Internships typically do not lead to a credential.

6)    College Credit: Internship and apprenticeship experiences may both lead to college credit, although some apprenticeship programs will lead to a debt-free college degree.

Q: What are the types of apprenticeship programs?  

A: There are two types of apprenticeship programs that offer workers paid, relevant workplace experiences and enable employers to immediately access a workforce while developing their skilled future talent. These include: 

(1) Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) – This is a proven model of apprenticeship that has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency.  

(2) Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) – This is a new, customizable apprenticeship model that will be validated by proven industry Standards Recognition Entities. 

Q: How long are apprenticeship programs?

A: The length of an apprenticeship program can vary depending on the employer, complexity of the occupation, industry, and the type of program.

Q: Are apprenticeship programs flexible and adaptable?

A:  Yes! The apprenticeship model is adaptable based on the skills required by the employer and industry.

Q: Are there apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries?

A:  Yes! Apprenticeship spans more than 1,000 occupations including careers in health care, cybersecurity, information technology, and energy. 

Q: What is National Apprenticeship Week? 

A: National Apprenticeship Weeks is a nationwide celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor that brings together leaders in business, labor, and education to showcase the impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. 

The fourth annual National Apprenticeship Week took place on November 12-18, 2018. 

Q: What was the Presidential Executive Order about apprenticeships and where can I find more information?

A: In June 2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.” This Executive Order contained several important tasks and requirements to help modernize America’s education systems and workforce development programs by expanding apprenticeships. You can find the Presidential Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America on the White House website.

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