Registered apprenticeship is a voluntary training program that has proven to be highly effective for centuries. Throughout recorded history, people have been transferring skills from one generation to another in some form of apprenticeship. Today the need for skilled tradesmen or craftsmen in Kentucky is more critical than ever. Apprenticeship is a training system that produces highly skilled workers who are able to meet the demands of employers who are competing in a highly competitive environment. Each and every day the U.S. economy continues to come under increasing competitive global pressure. In that regard, Kentucky not only finds itself economically competing with other states but with the entire manufacturing world. The most important asset any region or state must posses in today’s competitive market is a highly trained and skilled workforce. One significant way to create and maintain a skilled workforce is through a highly effective on-the-job apprenticeship training program.

The unique feature of the apprenticeship concept is that on-the-job training is supplemented with technical classroom instruction. Apprentices work under the supervision of qualified journeyworkers to develop their chosen trade or skill and learn the techniques, materials, and equipment associated with that trade. Classroom instruction that provides training in theoretical and technical aspects of the trade is required. Minimum class time is 144 hours for each year of apprenticeship, but may be higher for some trades. Apprentices are generally evaluated every six months and receive pay raises based upon their proven progress in skill development as well as their classroom proficiency. When a registered apprenticeship program sponsor verifies that the apprentice has fulfilled all requirements of the training program, the Labor Cabinet will issue a certificate of completion. This nationally recognized certification is verification that the completing apprentice is a fully qualified skilled worker in the trade.

Apprenticeship Participation

Apprenticeship Benefits

Operation and Funding of a Program

Government's Role

Establishing a Program

Apprenticeship Participation
Industries Participating in Registered Apprenticeship
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Telecommunications
  • Information Technology/Networking
  • Service and Retail Industries
  • Health Care
  • Public Utilities
  • Public Sector
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Apprenticeship Benefits
For Employers:
  • Skilled workers trained to industry/employer specifications to produce quality results
  • Reduced turnover
  • Increased productivity
  • Industry's need to remain competitive by investing in the development and continuous upgrade of the skills of its workforce
  • Reduced worker compensation costs due to an emphasis on safety training
  • Compliance with federal and state equal opportunity requirements facilitated
For apprentices and journeyworkers:
  • Jobs that usually pay higher wages
  • Higher quality of life and skills versatility
  • Portable credentials recognized nationally and often globally
  • Opportunity for college credit and future degrees
For Kentucky:
  • Highly skilled workforce
  • Increased competitive edge in a global economy
  • System to contribute to and sustain economic growth
  • Decreased need to import skilled workers
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Operation and Funding of a Program
Registered apprenticeship programs are operated in the private and public sectors by employer, employer association or joint labor-management sponsors. Program sponsors pay most of the training costs while also progressively increasing wages to their apprentices as they gain skills. Registered apprenticeship can be competency based or time based depending on the sponsor's needs. Registered apprenticeship programs range from one (1) to six (6) or more years in length. Because the content of the training program is driven by industry needs, the end result is workers with skills that are in high demand.

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Government's Role
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet, Division of Apprenticeship in cooperation with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training is authorized to oversee Kentucky's apprenticeship system. The Division of Apprenticeship is responsible for:
  • Registering apprenticeship programs that meet federal and state standards
  • Protecting the safety and welfare of apprentices
  • Issuing nationally recognized and portable Certificates of Completion to apprentices
  • Promoting the development of new programs through marketing and technical assistance
  • Assuring that all programs provide high quality training
  • Assuring that all programs produce skilled, competent workers
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Establishing a Program
Registered apprenticeship is a voluntary industry-driven training program. The registered apprenticeship program can be a partnership of business and organized labor as the primary operators of programs, or implemented by employers or employer associations. Government plays a support role. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet, Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Mediation provides technical consultation services on the development of the apprenticeship standards.

Employers or groups of employers and unions design, organize, manage and finance registered apprenticeship programs under a set of apprenticeship standards which include an on-the-job training outline, related classroom instruction curriculum and the apprenticeship operating procedures. These standards are then registered with the Labor Cabinet.

Check out our How to Establish an Apprenticeship Program page for more information.

Applicable Laws and Regulations
803 KAR 1:010: Registration
KRS 343.010: Definitions for chapter.
KRS 343.050: Apprenticeship or on-the-job training agreement -- Contents.
KRS 343.070: Settlements of controversies or complaints.
KRS 343.090: Public policy as to apprenticeship and on-the-job training.
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Council Members
Howard L. Dawes Jr.
Michael Doherty
Lisa Marie Heideman
Kyle Henderson
Anthony Herbert
John Morrison
Camilla Moss
Kenneth Sheridan
Members At-Large
Angie College
Michael Dixon
Patty Osborne
Ex-Officio Members
Ervin Dimeny
Beth Kuhn
Apprenticeship Supervisor
Michael C. Donta