The Renaissance of Registered Apprenticeship Programs

By on February 25, 2016

Throughout the years, education programs have come and gone.  However, the hands-on approach embedded in most career and technical education (CTE) programs has gained prominence as college debt soars and college grads look for related jobs.  One crucial aspect of CTE that is sure to stick is the concept of work-based learning (WBL).  Henry and I (the authors) contend that one of the oldest and most successful forms of WBL is rooted in the apprenticeship model.  Many of the forefathers of this great nation served as apprentices.  Benjamin Franklin was a printer’s apprentice, while Paul Revere completed a silversmith apprenticeship.  Times have changed and so have registered apprenticeship programs (RAP), which are overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

The current administration in Washington, D.C. has bent over backwards for more than two years to promote apprenticeship as an alternative pathway to college.  Lawmakers took a giant leap in September 2015 by awarding nearly $175 million in grants to over 40 programs around the United States.  Moreover, the Department of Labor has proposed another $90 million of federal grant funds be awarded in 2016 to keep the momentum going.  The goal is to grow apprenticeship programs by doubling the current number of apprentices to 800,000 by 2019.

To this end, CTE professionals need to consider how they might play a part in this process.  Far too often, many in this country have viewed apprenticeship solely for construction, and/or it has been relegated to post-secondary education.  In order to achieve this lofty goal, one must consider expanding RAPs horizontally into other economic sectors, as well as vertically into the secondary level.

With this in mind, we have interviewed two experts who were instrumental in creating innovative RAPs, which are now deemed national role models.  We wish to thank Brad Neese, associate vice president with the South Carolina Technical College System (Apprenticeship Carolina in South Carolina), and Walter Siegenthaler, executive vice president at Max Daetwyler Corporation (a member of Apprenticeship 2000 in North Carolina).

The following interview will allow you to see how an intermediary approaches RAP versus how a firm within a consortium views RAP.

Click here to read about the interview.

John Gaal holds a doctorate in Education. He is currently the director of training and workforce development for the STL-KC Carpenters Regional council and the ApprenticeshipUSA leader representative for ACTE.

Henry Johnson III  holds a BS in Workforce Education and Development and a master’s of Public Policy Administration. He is currently the curriculum leader for the St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program.



About Dede Hance