Brief Time-Based, Competency-Based, or Hybrid Programs?
Considerations for Selecting an Approach to Registered Apprenticeship
Karen Gardiner
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Registered apprenticeship programs result in positive outcomes for employers and apprentices. Apprenticeship is an “earn-and-learn” model that combines classroom instruction (“related technical instruction”) with on-the-job learning (OJL) provided by a mentor at the employer’s worksite. It provides training in a specific occupation and delivers occupational skills that are recognized and transferable across employers. Apprentices are employed and earn progressively higher wages as they master skills.

Traditionally used as a training model in the building trades, the US Department of Labor aims to expand registered apprenticeship as a workforce training model, including to nontraditional industries such as health care and information technology. Although registered apprenticeship programs share key elements, they vary in many ways, including the approaches apprenticeship sponsors use to structure their programs: time based, which measures skill acquisition through the individual apprentice’s completion of a minimum of 2,000 hours of OJL; competency based, which measures skill acquisition through the individual apprentice’s successful demonstration of acquired skills and knowledge, as verified by the sponsor; or hybrid, which measures the individual apprentice’s skill acquisition through a combination of a specified minimum number of hours of OJL and the successful demonstration of competencies.

Each approach has benefits and drawbacks. Considerations in selecting an approach include the apprenticeship occupation, employer organizational culture, and apprenticeship system in the state where the occupation will be registered.

Research Areas Workforce
Tags Apprenticeships Job training Workforce development
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population
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