Offer a Registered Apprenticeship

There is a critical need for skilled workers in the workforce and apprenticeship programs provide a way to train and develop new workers. Registered apprenticeship programs provide both on-the-job training with an employer and classroom instruction that develops highly-trained, knowledgeable, and skilled professionals. Employer sponsorship and workplace training programs are vital to building the next generation of skilled workers.

Apprenticeship for Employers

As an employer, there are many great reasons to offer a registered apprenticeship in your workplace. Apprenticeship training programs help businesses develop a highly-skilled workforce. Offering an apprenticeship program:

  • Gives businesses a sound return on investment
  • Allows customized training that meets industry standards, tailored to the specific needs of your business
  • Helps businesses become more competitive
  • Reduces the cost of training and recruitment
  • Increases workplace safety and productivity
  • Reduces employee turnover, improving loyalty and worker retention
  • Replenishes the workforce

Each apprentice in a registered apprenticeship program works with a journey-level professional who helps them learn the knowledge, skills, and abilities your company needs. When an apprentice completes a registered apprenticeship program, they graduate as an experienced, journey-level professional with a state-issued, nationally-recognized industry credential.

WorkSource Apprenticeship Microsite and other community partners can potentially help provide funding for training, supplies, or other aspects of apprenticeship programs.

Did you know … 91% of apprentices that complete an apprenticeship are still employed nine months later.

Getting Started

There are a two ways to offer an apprenticeship program with your business:

  1. Create and sponsor your own apprenticeship program that is registered with and approved by the state
  2. Join an existing registered apprenticeship program as a training agent.

Depending on your business needs, it may or may not be practical to sponsor a registered apprenticeship program. It typically takes a minimum of 6 months to get a new program started. Most businesses join with an existing apprenticeship sponsor as a training agent. Registering as a training agent can be done within a few weeks/days time. For example, a small electrical contractor can become a training agent through a registered electrical apprenticeship program, or a salon can partner with an existing program to offer cosmetology apprenticeships. There are costs associated with joining an existing apprenticeship program to cover tuition and training costs.

Apprenticeship Consultants

The best way to get started is by contacting our apprenticeship customer service line at 360-902-5320 and you will be referred to an apprenticeship consultant in your area. The apprenticeship consultant can help you:

  • Determine how a registered apprenticeship program could meet your needs
  • Complete your required documentation
  • Implement best practices for program administration
  • Work through the approval process

You can also find out what registered apprenticeship programs and sponsors are available in your area by using our Apprenticeship Registration and Tracking System (ARTS).

Sponsoring Registered Apprenticeships

All registered apprenticeship programs need a sponsor. Sponsors can be employers, unions, employer associations, etc. Sponsors oversee every aspect of a registered apprenticeship program, from development to actual administration.

Each apprenticeship program creates a written agreement, or “program standards,” that are reviewed by L&I and approved by the Washington State Apprenticeship & Training Council (WSATC). Program standards clearly outline how a program will operate, and the expectations of the program and apprentices. Program standards specify:

  • The length of training
    • Apprenticeships typically range from two to five years in length, depending on the occupation, with a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT).
  • Related education (Related Supplemental Instruction)
    • A minimum of 144 hours of education is required for each year of the apprenticeship. This can be online courses, classroom instruction, courses at a local college, etc.
  • Wage progression
    • All apprentices receive a prescribed starting wage, with increases as they progress through the program and gain hours of experience in occupational competencies.
  • An outline of the skills of the occupation
    • Program standards define the specific work skills required to complete the program and the approximate number of hours it takes to learn each skill.

Program standards also list the minimum qualifications, geographical area, Equal Employment opportunity compliance, probationary periods, ratio of apprentices to journey-level professionals (supervision), disciplinary procedures, sponsor responsibilities, committees, etc.

It is also the responsibility of the sponsor to:

  • Oversee on-the-job training and monitor attendance at related training classes.
  • Evaluate progress before recommending advancement to the next pay level.
  • Recommend award of the certificate of completion when an apprentice has satisfactorily completed the required course work and on-the-job training.

Q&A

How much will it cost to start an apprenticeship program?

The primary cost to starting an apprenticeship program is time and effort. You pay no fees to Labor & Industries to register a program. If you decide to participate as a training agent with an existing apprenticeship program, you may be required to pay a fee to that program to help cover the costs of training. This fee varies by program.

Are there any financial benefits?

Yes. The financial benefits are both short term and long term. First, you save on payroll costs because you pay your apprentice lower wages than you would pay a journey-level worker. As time passes and apprentices progress in their training, they earn increasingly higher wage amounts. Additionally, as a Washington state registered apprentice, your apprentice may receive a 50% tuition waiver at a Washington state community or technical college. There are currently no state tax incentives for employers who offer registered apprenticeships.

Related Resources

Contact Us

Mailing address

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
Apprenticeship Section
PO Box 44530
Tumwater WA 98504-4530