By Mary Knight | Communications Specialist, CareerWise
From job shadowing to internships, there are a lot of different work-based learning opportunities available to students looking to gain on-the-job experience. Many of these skills-based work experiences call themselves an apprenticeship, because that’s a model that is known to be rigorous and rewarding. But don’t be fooled; not all work-based learning opportunities carry the same value and portability as a true apprenticeship.
New America’s Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship defines a quality youth apprenticeship as:
One way to ensure an apprenticeship is recognized across industries and contains portable credentials is to register the apprenticeship with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) and its associate State Apprentice Agencies (SAAs). This national registration provides a set standard of regulations for apprenticeship, how it should be carried out and what the outcomes need to be in order for the apprenticeship to be considered successful and completed.
Since 2017, CareerWise has been working with its employer partners to register apprentice occupations with the USDOL. CareerWise national partnerships program manager Jake Williams has been a key player in that process.
“The value of the Registered Apprenticeship system is expanded for employers and students when youth apprenticeship is introduced,” said Williams. “It opens up an inclusive, next-generation mindset for knowledge-economy employers and establishes new paths to careers for young people.”
READY TO WORK
From the student perspective, there are many benefits to participating in a USDOL registered apprenticeship.
When a student completes a registered apprenticeship, they receive an official USDOL Certificate of Completion showing the specific competencies they achieved and their level of mastery in that particular job or occupation. The certification is an official stamp of approval, demonstrating to employers the validity and quality of their training experience. It creates a portable credential allowing that student to be employed in that occupation in any location or organization in the country.
In addition to earning the gold standard of a job-ready skill set, registered apprentices are guaranteed wage increases throughout the course of their apprenticeship when they meet different levels of competency on the job. Outside of USDOL registered apprenticeships, there is no formal mechanism for guaranteeing pay raises for apprentices.
Depending on the employer, some apprentices may receive course credit towards a college degree upon the completion of their registered apprenticeship. Although this isn’t a universal benefit, Williams is hopeful it will expand along with the increased national interest in youth apprenticeship by employers and students.