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Apprenticeship Basics


Apprenticeship offers you on the job training 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 on 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

  • Industries Participating in Registered Apprenticeship
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Telecommunications
  • Information Technology/Networking
  • Service and Retail Industries
  • Health Care
  • Public Utilities
  • Public Sector

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

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.

Government's Role

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet, Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Mediation in cooperation with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training is authorized to oversee Kentucky's apprenticeship system. The Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Mediation 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

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 provide technical consulting 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.

Start an Apprenticeship

Employer Documentation

Part of the start-up process requires the sponsor (employer) to create a systematic means of keeping accurate on-the-job training documentation as well as the classroom instructional verification records. Your apprenticeship coordinator will assist in helping you set up a record system that will best meet your needs relative to trade and course of study. This required documentation is essential in the verification process especially when your apprenticeship coordinator is conducting a compliance review.

Forms used by the apprenticeship coordinators are designed to implement, track, and confirm the specific stages of the apprenticeship program. If you have any questions about proper documentation, please contact your apprenticeship coordinator or the Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Training.