Could an apprentice program benefit your business?

Janet Arrowood

Apprenticeship programs offer businesses a multitude of benefits in training new and existing employees to meet workforce needs.

What is an apprenticeship? The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) website at www.cdle.colorado.gov offers this definition: “Apprenticeships are an employer-driven model and type of experiential learning combining paid, on-the-job learning with related instruction.”

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship program?

You train employees to meet your needs rather than bringing in someone with skills and mindsets that might not mesh with your company culture and mission.

You enhance in a focused way the skills of employees to fill gaps created by layoffs, retirements or departing staff.

You train employees to fill more advanced or specialized positions in your company.

You can register your apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department of Labor to gain access to specialized advice and support. The CDLE and its workforce partners can assist you with this registration. According to the CDLE website: “A registered apprenticeship consultant will walk you through the program design process, registration requirements and paperwork.” Complete the apprenticeship program employer interest form on the CDLE website to start the process.

In Colorado, apprenticeships can be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. There are more than 190 registered programs in the state.

Creating and registering an apprenticeship program provides complimentary access to federal and state recruiting tools to market your program to diverse audiences as well as a network of local and state partners and federal resources to find and support new talent.

Other valuable benefits of a registered apprenticeship program as mentioned on the CDLE website include access to national credentials for apprentices, national recognition for your company, high-quality training standards and information, ongoing free technical support, federal resources and recruitment benefits for veterans.

You might also want explore opportunities with Colorado partners to further enhance your apprenticeship program. Some of these partners and their areas of specialization or support are:

The Colorado Community College System: The CCCS partners with industry to integrate postsecondary education into apprenticeship programs.

The Colorado Department of Education: The CDE  trains the next generation of workers through apprenticeships and other work-based opportunities.

CareerWise Colorado: This Swiss model ensures young people are trained in high-demand occupations.

The Department of Regulatory Agencies: DORA oversees licensed apprenticeships, including those for plumbers and electricians.

At no cost, the CDLE offers access to an apprenticeship consultant to work with you to: 

Understand the registered apprenticeship training and employment model.

Determine if a registered apprenticeship constitutes a good fit for your company.

Learn about Colorado education and licensure occupational information.

Develop your program from start to registration with the U.S. Department of Labor.

Connect you with resources to manage your program and diversify your recruitment efforts

Connect you with state partners who specialize in youth and collegiate apprenticeships as well as licensed occupations to enhance your program.

If you decide to start a registered apprenticeship program, here are a few more benefits:

Multiple employers can create a single program. Check with fellow members of your chamber of commerce or professional associations to gauge their interest.

nnterested employers can join an existing program. Your chamber of commerce, professional associations, referral networks, centers of influence and the CDLE offer good starting places to find these companies and their programs.

An apprenticeship consultant might help you design a program for training internal staff.