Business

What do a machinist, an electrician, a dental assistant, and a computer programmer have in common?

They are all jobs that can be learned through an apprenticeship. Much of America’s workforce is retiring, leaving businesses with gaps in their labor force and in need of a way to find, train, and retain workers. This is where apprenticeship can help.  Registered apprenticeships, where employees train under the direction of experienced subject matter experts (called journey workers), are one way that businesses can prepare for the shifting demographics of the workforce. Apprenticeship programs foster loyalty, replenish your skilled workforce, and can make your company more productive. Still not sure if apprenticeship is right for you? Contact WorkSource Oregon’s Apprenticeship Business Representative at 971-235-6289 or email steven.d.strain@oregon.gov to find out if Registered Apprenticeship is right for your business.

What occupations are a good fit for apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is an effective solution in any occupation that involves a progressive attainment of skills and knowledge in order to meet an industry standard. Occupations that are a good fit for apprenticeship have the following characteristics:

  1. Requires at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job learning
  2. Is customarily learned in a practical way through a structured, systematic program of on-the-job supervised learning
  3. Requires related theoretical (academic) instruction to supplement the on-the-job learning
  4. Is clearly identified and recognized as an occupation throughout an industry

If you are an employer in the information technology or manufacturing industry, there may be grant funds available to help you start a new apprenticeship program. To find our more, contact, Shaun Engstrom at 503-931-5379 or shaun.c.engstrom@oregon.gov. To fill out an application to get tuition assistance for your apprentices in grant eligible programs, click here.

I’m ready  – How do I start?

Oregon has Apprenticeship Representatives (ARs) throughout the state ready to help you identify the apprenticeship model that best suits your company. When you call or e-mail your AR, you’ll get one-on-one technical assistance and on-site guidance to get your program up and running.  Apprenticeship Representatives provide guidance on industry standards and training guidelines and work closely with committees. They facilitate cooperation among employers, workers and schools. Apprenticeship representatives:

  • Help design training programs to meet an industry’s specific standards
  • Advise on standards and curricula used elsewhere in the state and nation
  • Provide information on statewide employment needs and trends
  • Work with committees to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal regulations and the requirements of the state Apprenticeship Council
  • Help maintain state of the art training

To get in contact with an apprenticeship representative call (971) 673-0760 or email ATDemail@boli.state.or.us

Based on your business and training needs, your AR will show you how apprenticeship can meet those needs. Your AR will identify existing programs that can serve as a guide or can help you set up a program for a new occupation. Once developed, your program structure is your blueprint to ensure high-quality on-the-job learning and cutting-edge theoretical instruction for your skilled workforce.

How apprenticeships work

Registered apprenticeship programs start with the formation of an apprenticeship committee made up of private sector employees —both managers and workers. Committees develop program guidelines that include:

  • Criteria for becoming an apprentice
  • Skill and proficiency requirements to reach journeyworker/professional level
  • Wage rates and progressions based upon demonstrated competencies
  • Required course curriculum to complement on-the-job training
  • Supervision methods
  • Equal opportunity procedures

You can use this template to start sketching out your apprenticeship standard and your apprenticeship representative can provide you with on-site assistance to get your program up and running.

The Apprenticeship and Training Division of the Bureau of Labor and Industries (ATD) is Oregon’s registration agency for apprenticeship and approves businesses to train apprentices. Businesses that are approved to train apprentices are called training agents.

The primary responsibility of an approved training agent is to provide the on-the-job training to the apprentice under the supervision of skilled workers. The training agent pays the apprentice for work performed and sometimes for the hours of related instruction specified in the program.  The apprentice works at a reduced wage while learning the trade – wages increase as more skill is attained.

Once approved as a training agent, you and your apprentices enter into a written agreement that specifies the length of training, related school requirements, an outline of the skills to be learned and the wages the apprentice will receive.  Contact an apprenticeship representative to learn more.

Once your apprenticeship program is established, you’ll have access to tools and resources designed to help you maintain your program. Your AR will help you analyze and evaluate the training to determine what is working well or what could be more effective. You’ll have access to industry experience and expertise. You’ll capture the skills and knowledge of your existing skilled workforce and pass it on to your newer employees.

Copyright 2017, Oregon Apprenticeship