July 23, 2019

Registered Apprenticeships


  • Registered apprenticeships are one way American workers get work experience and technical skills they need for jobs that are in high demand.
  • There were 585,000 apprentices in federal registered apprenticeships as of fiscal year 2018; and 71,700 completed a program that year.
  • Apprenticeships help employers attract and retain workers, and they help workers certify their skills, find jobs, and increase their earnings. 

The U.S. economy’s unprecedented growth means more job opportunities for Americans. May marked the 15th month in a row that there were more open jobs than unemployed people. There were 7.3 million jobs to be filled but only 5.9 million people unemployed and actively looking for work.

Open Jobs Outnumber the Unemployed

Registered Apprenticeships

Businesses of all sizes want to hire, but they often have trouble finding enough workers who have the right skills. The federal government operates a variety of programs intended to help American workers, including the unemployed, acquire the knowledge and skills that employers need.

the apprenticeship system

The Trump administration recently proposed a rule on how to facilitate a new apprenticeship program known as industry-recognized apprenticeships. These would operate parallel to federal registered apprenticeships, the traditional way the government has supported apprentices. Starting with the fiscal year 2016 appropriations, Congress set a dedicated funding stream for registered apprenticeships.

Registered apprenticeships are required to comply with certain federal and state laws and regulations that relate to training quality, wages, safety, and recordkeeping. Apprenticeships include both on-the-job work experience and classroom-style instruction. The programs cover more than 1,300 occupations, and many are in the construction and manufacturing industries. Graduates get a nationally recognized credential that they can take with them throughout their career.

Rather than take on student loan debt to get the credential, participants earn while they learn. Fully proficient workers who complete an apprenticeship earn $50,000 on average, according to the Department of Labor. Those who finish a program earn about $300,000 more over their career than their peers who did not do an apprenticeship. Employers also benefit in the form of high retention of trained workers. The Labor Department found that “91% of apprentices that complete an apprenticeship are still employed nine months later.”

Federal Registered Programs

Registered Apprenticeships

As of fiscal year 2018, there were 585,000 apprentices active in registered apprenticeships, including 47,000 veterans. That year, 71,700 apprentices graduated from the programs. Members of the military can participate in apprenticeships registered with the Labor Department, which helps them certify their skills before they transition out of military service.

Issue Tag: Labor