Competency-Based Occupational Frameworks for Registered Apprenticeships

With funding from the US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, the Urban Institute is building national frameworks for registered apprenticeships in a wide array of occupations. The frameworks are consensus based, meaning they are drafted in cooperation with employers, educators, and other workforce and training experts. The goal is to broaden the country’s number and scope of registered apprenticeships.

Employers and others can use the frameworks to fast-track the development of their own registered apprenticeships, with assurance that they are well researched and consistent across national programs. The frameworks are competency based rather than time based, meaning that abilities are emphasized over memorized knowledge and skills and are more important than the number of hours spent working on tasks. The result is high-quality frameworks that are freely available for all to use.

Current frameworks are available in the following sectors:

Advanced Manufacturing

  • CNC Set-Up Programmer

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    CNC Set-up Programmers work in the private sector in industries such as the automotive, aviation/aerospace, rail, ship and heavy truck industries. These workers operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform several machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.  They are critical to ensuring the smooth operation of the CNC controlled manufacturing equipment of their worksite.  They help to ensure through the work that they do, that industrial machinery and equipment is maintained at the highest possible level, quality of the hardware they produce, ensuring the productivity and safety of the entire production team.  They also oversee Quality Assurance, verification, and inspection of equipment. 

    CNC Set-up Programmers represent the culmination of the receipt of several different credentials and certifications and as a result, are subject matter experts in the equipment they work with.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Industrial Maintenance Technician

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Industrial Maintenance Technicians work in the private sector and are critical to ensure the smooth and reliable operation of the industrial plants and equipment in their industry.  They set out to maintain and repair manufacturing equipment. They help to ensure through the work that they do, that industrial machinery and equipment is maintained at the highest possible level, ensuring the productivity and safety of the entire production team. 

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Industrial Manufacturing Technician

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Entry level Industrial Manufacturing Technicians operate industrial production related equipment, work with manufacturing related tools, and perform work processes related to a wide variety of manufacturing settings. Apprentices will safely learn to set up, operate, monitor, and control production equipment. They will also help improve manufacturing processes and schedules to meet customer requirements.  Industrial Manufacturing Technicians provide a baseline foundation for other occupations, including in the job areas of mechatronics and machinists.  Industrial Manufacturing Technicians engage in the production of a diverse set of products including, but not limited to, consumer goods, automobiles, medical devices, food products and commercial parts and supplies.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Mechatronics Installer

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Mechatronics Installers work with mechanical machinery supported by information technology in dynamic environments using a variety of measurement and computer equipment and tools. They manage complex machines, adjust, find errors, and eliminate them; know the principles of operation of hydraulic, electrical and other devices; and carry out the measurements and interference with the fabrication processes. They know how to use computer programs and control the steering of various processes. Mechatronics installers are able to maintain, listen, observe, perform screenings, and carry a sense of professionalism with staff and any outside parties.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Mechatronics Technician

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Mechatronics Technicians work to combine electronic, mechanical, computer and control skills at the workplace. They work with complex high-performance manufacturing systems and are able to analyze, troubleshoot, and repair systems to maintain process efficiency. They must understand and analyze the technical specifications of mechatronic systems, subsystems, modules, and components; perform scheduled and preventive maintenance to detect and prevent problems; use troubleshooting skills to identify and prevent possible problems and failures, and to systematically and intelligently make repairs; incorporate relevant technical literature into the understanding of system operation and coordinate efforts with other technicians involved in installing or maintaining equipment or components; install, repair, adjust, and test equipment and components to ensure that systems function properly; communicate with machine operators, and operate equipment to detect equipment problems, analyze malfunctions, and verify system problems; and observe and incorporate safety standards and regulations required for safe operation of the system.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

Energy

  • Transmission Line Worker

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Transmission Line Workers are employed by or on behalf of public utilities companies and engineering contracting firms and in industries requiring a service to be transmitted through a network of cables. Line workers/linesmen are in many ways the backbone of the electricity and telecommunication industries. Line workers work outdoors in most weather conditions, at heights and in confined spaces underground, and at times with extremely high voltage electricity lines.

    Line workers install, remove, maintain, and repair sub-transmission and distribution lines and associated equipment and facilities, as well as maintain safety for the public and for work crews during repair and construction work.  Line workers must effectively execute many tasks to help deliver electrical power from generating stations into homes, businesses, factories, and other facilities.

    In order to minimize the danger, they must follow strict safety requirements and protocols. They are typically the first responders to power outages and other emergencies, and often work irregular hours in response to emergency events.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

Health Care

  • Community Health Worker

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Community health workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who are trusted and understanding members of the communities they serve. This trusting relationship enables CHWs to be liaisons, links, or intermediaries between health and social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. Community health workers also build individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.

    Community health workers are bridges between the community and the health care, government, and social service systems.

    Community health workers work in government, nonprofit, and private organizations, including hospitals, government, ambulatory care facilities, and religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, or similar organizations. They also provide individualized support or family services from a central location, from remote locations, or through home visits. They work in rural, metropolitan, and urban areas; on tribal lands; or internationally.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Medical Assistant

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Medical assistants work in medical offices and outpatient care centers, including urgent care centers and surgical centers. They work with licensed health care and allied health care providers, including doctors, optometrists, podiatrists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, nurses, radiology technicians, respiratory therapists, and office support staff (e.g., clerical office staff). Some medical assistants work in small medical practices that employ only a physician and a single medical assistant, and others work in larger medical practices and outpatient care centers (including those affiliated with hospitals).

    Medical assistants work with licensed medical care providers in medical offices or other outpatient centers to maintain office records and equipment, schedule and participate in the examination and treatment of patients, perform basic diagnostic tests or medical procedures, and provide patient education and follow-up support.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Medical Records and Health Information Technicians and Medical Coders

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Coding professionals use coding conventions and guidelines to abstract, analyze, and accurately assign International Classification of Diseases, Current Procedural Terminology, and other classification systems, as well as principal and secondary diagnostic and procedural codes to inpatient, ambulatory, and outpatient medical records. Coding professionals also query physicians when diagnosis is unclear, audit records, and perform peer reviews. These professionals use encoder, grouper, and other Health Information Management software, including electronic health records. Job requirements include a current credential, such as Registered Health Information Administrator, Registered Health Information Technician, Certified Coding Associate, or other designated credential from a nationally recognized organization.

    Coding professionals assign clinical classification codes for medical services. They also use abstracting databases, internal and external audit results, Quality Improvement Organization reports, and revenue cycle edit and denial information, and they are a resource to the clinical team. This position requires effective interaction with coding staff, clinical staff, and different levels of management throughout the health care system.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Sterile Supply Technician

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Sterile supply technicians prepare, sterilize, install, and clean laboratory and health care equipment, and they perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment.

    These technicians work in hospitals, surgical centers, dental offices, outpatient clinics, and treatment centers to clean and prepare medical instruments and equipment. They also assist in infection control and ensure that care providers have ample access to clean, functional, and sterile equipment. Exposure to disease agents and hazardous materials is possible.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Surgical Technologist

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Surgical technologists work as members of a healthcare team alongside physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers. Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites, positioning the patients on the operating table, covering them with sterile drapes, and taking them to and from the operating room. Surgical technologists prepare sterile solutions and medications used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. They help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves. During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They also hold retractors, hold internal organs in place during the procedure, or set up robotic surgical equipment. Technologists also may handle specimens taken for laboratory analysis. Once the operation is complete, surgical technologists may apply bandages and other dressings to the incision site. They may also help transfer patients to recovery rooms and restock operating rooms after a procedure.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

Information Technology

  • Cybersecurity Support Technician

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Cybersecurity professionals maintain the security and integrity of information technology systems, networks, and devices. According to the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, cybersecurity professionals securely provision, operate, and maintain; protect and defend; investigate; collect and operate; analyze; and provide oversight and development.

    Some cybersecurity support technicians and analysts are employees in small or large companies, nonprofits, and government agencies; some are outside contractors that provide services to other organizations; and others are self-employed.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Database and Cloud Administrator

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    The Database and Cloud Administrator implements, supports and maintains the overall database infrastructure and services for an organization. More specifically, a Database and Cloud Administrator manages and configures a company’s database including storage, migration, conversion, queries, protection, performance upgrades and cost efficiencies. It is important to note that because of increasing levels of data security concerns and the sensitive nature of data stored, backup, disaster recovery, and securing databases are essential components of a Database and Cloud Administrator’s job. Along these lines, the Database and Cloud Administrator oversees access to all database information and stays up to date with new releases. Equally important, the Database and Cloud Administrator must be very knowledgeable about privacy, confidentiality and data protection from both conceptual and legislative perspectives.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Developer

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Entry level developers perform a wide variety of job functions that apply relevant theories, methods, tools, and interpersonal skills to design, build, operate, monitor, and control a software program or series of software programs or systems. Apprentices should have some existing knowledge of computer basics and pose the ability to learn and apply tools specific to an organization’s unique requirements. Developers contribute to a diverse set of products depending on the architecture and industry needs defined by each organization. Developers utilize their creativity and critical thinking abilities to solve unique problems as they arise, and to serve as a vital support to an organization’s evolving needs.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • IT Generalist

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Information technology generalists perform various support functions, particularly if they work in a small-to-medium-size company that has a small IT department with few specialist positions. IT generalists set up technology for employees, maintain internal networks, support telework functions, and provide help desk support. Workers in this position work with IT colleagues, staff at all levels within an organization, external clients, and vendors.

    IT generalists maintain functioning information technology equipment and networks, provide support to technology users, ensure security of information and IT infrastructure, and uphold company policies regarding use, security, and redundancy of data.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

Transportation

  • Transit Bus Technician

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Transit bus technicians diagnose, adjust, repair, maintain, and overhaul buses and bus equipment. They typically work in municipal transit repair shops. Other occupations include working for a vendor or supplier, at a private bus company, or as an independent contractor.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Transit Coach Operator

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    Transit coach operators provide safe, reliable, and courteous transportation for goods and passengers. These operators drive buses or motorcoaches, including regular route operations, charters, and private carriage. They sometimes assist passengers with baggage or Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and collect fares or tickets.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

  • Heavy and Tractor Trailer Truck Driver

    Occupational Purpose and Context

    These drivers provide safe transportation and delivery of goods, provide supply chain support, and support economic productivity. They are employed by large and small companies or are self-employed. Jobs often require extensive travel, and drivers must be able to work independently and autonomously. They must also be able to handle a great deal of responsibility, both for the safe transport of products and the safety of others on the road or in adjacent communities.

    Work Process Schedule (pdf)
    Full Competency-Based Framework (pdf)

This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with federal funds from the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration under contract number DOL-ETA-15-C-0087. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of the same by the US government.