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Apprenticeship Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are apprenticeships and internships the same thing?

A: No. Internships and apprenticeships are both ways to build a pipeline of ready-to-work talent. The two are often conflated because they both offer hands-on training, but each serves a different purpose and has different outcomes.

Apprenticeship is a job! Apprentices are paid employees who are formally trained on the job in a Registered Apprenticeship program certified for a particular industry. Apprenticeships are long-term, typically ranging from one to six years. They are paid and result in a career with the apprenticing company.

Internships are often unpaid. While interns gain work experience and can be enrolled in a separate education program, they are not permanent employees. These are short-term opportunities, typically lasting only a few months, and may not result in employment with that company.

Q: Are apprenticeships only for the building and construction trades?

A: No. Long used as an effective recruitment practice in the building and construction trades, the apprenticeship model has recently been embraced by industries such as advanced manufacturing, accounting, healthcare, IT, and hospitality. Apprenticeships are also increasingly considered an alternative for training the science and engineering workforce.

Q: Are apprenticeships just a way for companies to get low-cost labor?

A: No. Apprenticeships have come under fire because apprentices often start at lower wages. However, apprentices make regular income gains as they progress through their apprenticeship.

Employers pay for expensive training on top of apprentice wages, and as apprentices become more productive, their wages increase in steps that are laid out in an apprenticeship contract. Apprenticeships often lead to high-paying positions, with average earnings of more than $50,000 and an 87 percent employment rate after completion without the burden of student loan debt.

Apprenticeships can and should be a broadly accessible path to good jobs that pay livable wages and provide supportive services, such as childcare, transportation, and legal assistance.

Q: Is the paperwork time consuming to become an apprentice?

A: No and our Job Centers are here to help assist you with the process!

The paperwork for registering as an apprentice in a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is straightforward and simple. Once you pick an industry, our Job Centers can help you with the rest.

Q: Is the paperwork time consuming to establish a Registered Apprenticeship Program?

A: Yes and our Alaska Workforce Investment Board (AWIB) staff are here to help!

Establishing a new Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) requires some initial time investment. The paperwork is digital and can be submitted electronically. Employers may sometimes join an existing sponsor's RAP, which lessens the paperwork requirements. Either way, growing your own employees is a good investment. By putting in up-front time on the paperwork, you will be able to easily track the time spent on on-the-job training in US Department of Labor's (USDOL) online tool. Additionally, as the apprentice program concludes, you will already have the necessary data in one place to help assess your return on investment. Our apprenticeship staff at AWIB are waiting to help you launch this next great chapter in your business! For assistance, contact our Statewide Apprenticeship staff at 907-269-3729.

Q: Is Registered Apprenticeship as Valuable as a University Degree?

A: Absolutely!

University degrees are popular options, and they're frequently seen as the standard once you graduate from high school. However, RAPs are an increasingly popular option for high growth industries. They provide work experience and job opportunities from the start, which is something that even a university degree can't do. Additionally, some RAPs provide the opportunity to start or finish a college degree during your time in the program.

In many cases, an apprenticeship can provide you with similar qualifications as a university graduate. Plus, you'll get valuable industrial experience and will earn while you learn! This is a significant benefit for your professional development and adds value to your resume. There is also the extra benefit of not having student loan debt to repay.

Q: Are apprentices permanent employees?

A: No.

Apprentices are employees that may be hired for a probationary period. If it is not working for the employer or apprentice, the apprentice may be let go or choose to leave.

Q: Do I have to hire new employees to benefit from apprenticeship?

A: No.

You do not have to hire new staff. You can use apprenticeship to train and certify your current workers. Apprenticing current employees is a great way to provide continuing education, improve and gain new skills and certifications, and improve retention. Apprenticing new employees is a great way to continue building your workforce with longevity in mind. You should consider doing both!