National Apprenticeship Week


When you hear the word apprentice, you might immediately associate it with construction or other skilled trades. But today, in Iowa and states across the nation, the ApprenticeshipUSA system holds opportunities for training in all industries, including healthcare, IT, advanced manufacturing, transportation and energy.

In fact, with a network of more than 150,000 employers in more than 1,000 occupations, the ApprenticeshipUSA system has trained millions of apprentices during the last 75 years. Today, the average starting wage for an apprenticeship graduate is more than $50,000, and apprentices will earn an average of $300,000 more over their lifetime than their non-apprentice peers.

A registered apprenticeship is an employer-driven model that combines on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction to increase the apprentice’s skill level and wages. It’s a flexible training strategy that can be customized to meet the needs of every business, and it can be integrated into current training and HR development strategies.

The benefits to businesses also make choosing Apprenticeship a win-win. Benefits include the ability to improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, reduce turnover, receive tax credits and more. And for every dollar taxpayers invest in apprenticeship programs, we see $27 in returns.

This is all good news – but there is still work to be done. While in the U.S. we have about 375,000 apprentices, Germany, for example, has about 1.8 million apprentices working with 500,000 employers. That’s why last year, President Obama established a goal of doubling the number of Registered Apprenticeship Programs in the U.S. in the next five years.

To help make that happen, the President has declared November 14-20, 2016 National Apprenticeship Week (NAW). To increase Apprenticeship awareness, IowaWORKS Southern Iowa, Indian Hills Community College, and Job Corps will host Apprenticeship Open House events at IowaWORKS Southern Iowa to help educate local leaders and businesses about the benefits of apprenticeship programs.

On November 16th, 2016, IowaWORKS will host an Employer’s Council of Iowa “Apprenticeship, Easy as 1, 2, 3” event, and I encourage everyone in our business community to attend and learn more about these important programs and opportunities.   Jim Wightman with the Department of Labor will present along with other experts. Indian Hills Community College will highlight their HVAC training program.  The event will be held at IowaWORKS, 15260 Truman St, Ottumwa, IA 52501 from 10am-1pm.  Lunch will be provided.  Please RSVP to Brenda Noe at (641) 684-5401 Ext 40016 or by email


All About Apprenticeships

All About Apprenticeships - IowaWORKS-Southern Iowa Blog

Apprenticeships have been around for a long time but are still a mystery to most people.  Apprenticeships are an opportunity for people to earn an income while they attend school.  When most people think about apprenticeships, they might think of construction occupations.  However over 1,000 occupations can be apprenticed, a list that includes Automobile Mechanic, Candy Maker, and Home Health Aide.  To view the full list, click here.

Apprentices can earn an average starting salary of $50,000 per year while gaining a credential that is equivalent to a 2 or 4 year college degree.  A Registered apprentice starts working from day one with incremental wage increases as they become more proficient.  The average starting wage for an apprentice is approximately $15 per hour.

So what makes Registered Apprenticeship different from other types of work-based learning?  Registered Apprenticeship training is distinguished from other types of workplace training by several factors:

  1. Participants who are newly hired (or already employed) earn wages from employers during training;
  2. Programs must meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor (or federally-recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies);
  3. Programs provide on-the-job learning and job-related technical instruction;
  4. On-the-job learning is conducted in the work setting under the direction of one or more of the employer’s personnel; and
  5. Training results in an industry-recognized credential.

To qualify for a Registered Apprenticeship Program an employer will determine the minimum qualifications for an individual to apply, similar to a job posting.  Depending on the position the starting age can be 16 to 18 years old.

The length of an apprenticeship program depends on the complexity of the occupation and the type of program (Time-based, Competency-based, or Hybrid). Apprenticeship programs range from one year to six years, but the majority of programs are four years in length. During the program, the apprentice receives both structured, on-the-job training and job-related education. For each year of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will normally receive 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a recommended minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction.

To learn more about this great opportunity for both job seekers and employers, please visit: