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Powering Registered Youth Apprenticeship Through USDOL’s YARG

By Adam Vitcavage

CareerWise was awarded a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) in July 2020 via the Youth Apprenticeship Readiness Grant. The primary objective of this program is to foster the growth and enhancement of Registered Apprenticeships specifically designed for young individuals. With a duration of four years, this grant is set to pave the way for exciting opportunities and invaluable learning experiences for aspiring young professionals.

Registered apprenticeship is a program where participants enroll in a high-quality youth apprenticeship that meets USDOL standards. It involves direct employer involvement, structured on-the-job training hours, related instruction plans, and rewards for competency-based skill development. Participants receive support, cohort bonding, wage tracking, professional development, occupation-specific training, and youth-specific career-readiness competencies, all aimed at preparing them for successful employment.

Since receiving the grant, CareerWise has grown both the number of apprentices and businesses formally engaged in registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs). Let’s delve into the highlights of our progress during the first quarter of this year.

One of our primary objectives at CareerWise is to encourage employers to register their apprenticeships with the USDOL. The four year goal of the grant is between 150 and 200 employers, with a total of 900 apprentices. In just the first few months of the year, 6 new employers have already completed the necessary registration paperwork, bringing the total to 66 employers since receiving the grant. These employers represent more than 300 apprentices in the system. The uptick in registration is a testament to the value of national standards and a rising interest and support from the business community in providing quality apprenticeship opportunities for young individuals.

CareerWise supports all of our participants who are in the registration pipeline. Though they may not be officially registered yet, we provide resources and guidance to ensure they are prepared for their apprenticeship journeys. During this quarter, we have proudly served 603 apprentices, bringing the total to nearly 1,000 participants since receiving the grant in 2020, enabling them to benefit from mentorship, career readiness support, and invaluable opportunities for growth.

And, of course, our commitment to the success of our apprentices extends beyond the registration process. We strive to retain registered apprentices and guide them towards completing their apprenticeship programs. Our target is to have 240 apprentices complete registered apprenticeships, and we are thrilled to celebrate the achievement of 30 apprentices who have reached this significant milestone this month. Additionally, 106 out of a goal of 660 participants have received a degree or credential, enhancing their career prospects and opening doors to endless possibilities since CareerWise received the Youth Apprenticeship Readiness Grant in 2020.

To ensure youth apprenticeship is aligned with the needs of employers, we’ve worked with the USDOL to register 26 new occupations since 2020 under CareerWise Colorado’s National Program in the Registered Apprenticeship system. By continuing to modernize the occupations that are apprenticeable—not just for young people, but for all workers—we’re helping expand 21st-century talent pipelines. A broad selection of apprentice occupations ensures that employers can find apprenticeships that align precisely with their industry requirements, fostering a mutually beneficial partnership between employers and apprentices.

We are dedicated to empowering the future workforce by connecting young individuals with employers and providing transformative apprenticeship experiences. The progress in advancing Registered Apprenticeship of the first quarter of 2023 helps redefine apprenticeship programs for the modern economy and prepare young people for successful careers. As we forge ahead, we anticipate even greater opportunities for young individuals to benefit from life-changing apprenticeship experiences at CareerWise. Together, we are shaping tomorrow’s talent today.