What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a workforce strategy to help individuals connect to a career pathway for many different occupations. It is a work-based learning model, commonly referred to as a "learn and earn" model, where on-the-job training is combined with relevant classroom instruction. The apprentice progressively acquires new skills and applies these learned skills on the job under the supervision of a mentor. Upon completion of the program, the apprentice receives an industry recognized credential.
Apprenticeships are one solution to meet employers' talent needs, while allowing apprentices to begin a solid career and grow their skills without taking on large amounts of college debt. Although apprenticeships have been traditionally associated with construction and the trades, apprenticeship programs are now within all industries, including healthcare, IT, advanced manufacturing, banking, insurance, and transportation, distribution, and logistics.
What does an apprenticeship program look like?
The apprenticeship model of learning is flexible; therefore, all programs are different. The length of an apprenticeship varies depending on the employer's needs and the occupation. Apprenticeships can be time-based, competency-based, or a hybrid of time and competency-based. The related instruction piece can take place during work or after work hours and can be provided at a school, at the employer site, or even online. This related instruction can be "front-loaded" meaning most or all provided at the beginning of the program before on-the-job training begins, or it can be segmented or spread out over the life of the program as needed.
The apprenticeship program can be "sponsored" by an employer, an industry association, a community college, a labor union, or other entity. The sponsor can be an intermediary and ensures the apprentices are progressing through the program and meeting all of the requirements.
What are the benefits of apprenticeship to employers?
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Employers are the foundation of apprenticeship programs, which are part of a larger strategy to help employers develop their talent pipeline. Research conducted by Case Western University revealed many benefits to participating employers: apprenticeships help recruit and develop a highly skilled workforce; they improve productivity and the bottom-line; and they reduce turnover costs and increase employee retention. Apprenticeships are industry driven training solutions that meet the local employers' needs.
Apprenticeship in Illinois
According to the U.S. Department of Labor January 2019 data, Illinois has approximately 432 Registered Apprenticeship programs with approximately 16,055 registered apprentices. These programs have been vetted by industry and are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.
The State of Illinois also fosters and promotes Pre-Apprenticeship, Youth Apprenticeship, and Non-Registered Apprenticeship. A Pre-Apprenticeship program is designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship or Non-Registered Apprenticeship program. A Youth Apprenticeship is a program for in-school or out-of-school youth that provides a career development experience with financial compensation paid to participants. Finally, a Non-Registered Apprenticeship is very much like a Registered Apprenticeship, only it is not registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.
As Illinois coordinates and aligns the strategy of apprenticeship with the K-12 system, we are integrating a shared vision and language around Career Pathways. Illinois is building a cohesive system to ensure that all Illinois young people reach adulthood having completed workforce readiness programs that prepare them for college and career, while equipping them with the information they need to choose the best career pathway for themselves.
Find more information on the Apprenticeship IL website: https://www.illinoisworknet.com/ApprenticeshipIL