Registered Apprenticeship and Education
Those who have been involved in the registered apprenticeship system know that with every registered apprenticeship program there is a component of related instruction that is at least 144 hours per year for the term of the program. Related instruction or classroom training is intended to supplement the training experience of the apprentice and provide the theory needed to master aspects of the trade.
Many states provide in their regulations on registered apprenticeship that there must be related instruction tied to the on-the-job learning experience. Some states actually lay out the curricula, and at what point in the apprenticeship the particular lessons should be taught. Other states have specific agencies that oversee the related instruction aspect of the apprenticeship and sign off on the completion of segments of the required related training.
Many people unfamiliar with the registered apprenticeship system don’t realize that there is a related instruction aspect to apprenticeship.
Since registered apprenticeship is somewhat flexible, related training can also be flexible depending on the registration agency (State or Federal) and what they will approve. Programs may give credit for previous education and or previous on-the-job learning. In some states there is great concern for related training and in some states the related training is left to the program sponsor.
Programs might have related training:
In joint labor/management programs (commonly called joint apprenticeship committees) related training is usually provided free of cost to the apprentice. Open shop or merit shop programs also provide related instruction to their registered apprentices, sometimes at the sponsor’s expense, sometimes at the apprentice’s expense.
Sponsors take related training seriously because the apprentices learn theory that will make them more productive on the job. Classroom training can be costly but the reality is that it would be more costly if there was no training. Some sponsors, through recruitment, seek out individuals with higher levels of education prior to indenturing them as apprentices. I have seen large companies have their own school in-plant and companies utilize institutions of higher learning for their instruction. Cost and quality are always a concern and with some industries, training departments are the first to cut back.
Courses taught in related education classes can be designed for many trades such as math, blueprint reading, tools, soft skills etc. or courses for the specific trade i.e. electrician, plumber, LPN, etc.
I think that related instruction education is one of the key components of registered apprenticeship. What do you think?
Electronic media is everywhere these days - especially as embraced by the new administration. We've had a lot of questions lately around how the revised Registered Apprenticeship regulations address how to use electronic media, so here are some answers! Special thanks to John Griffin for providing us with this succinct summary.
How is electronic media addressed in the revised regulations?
The revised regulations, specifically 29.5(b)(4), include electronic media among the ways that a registered apprenticeship program can meet the requirements to provide organized, related instruction in technical subjects related to the occupation. Electronic media is defined in 29.2 to mean media that utilize electronics or electromechanical energy for the end user to access the content (e.g. electronic storage media, the Internet, extranets, private networks, etc). The revised regulations do not require apprenticeship programs to use electronic media; rather they permit use of electronic media as a tool to support industry learning styles. The extent to which an apprenticeship program incorporates electronic media depends on the learning objectives of the particular occupation associated with an apprenticeship program. The regulations retain other methods of related instruction such as classroom, occupation or industry courses, or other instruction approved by the Registration Agency.
How was the issue addressed in the original regulations?
Previously, the regulations did not specifically authorize the use electronic media as a means to provide related instruction.
What is the reason for the change?
By including the use of electronic media in the definition of related instruction, the revised regulations now fully support technology-based and distance learning. The inclusion of electronic media is necessary to align the National Apprenticeship System with technological advances and appropriate industry application of such advances in the delivery of related instruction. For further information, please refer to pages 64409, 64410 of the Federal Register Notice for the final rule (73 FR 64402, Oct. 29, 2008).
What are the next steps?
The final rule was published October 29, 2008, in the Federal Register, and takes effect on December 29, 2008. The final rule provides State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) with two years from the effective date, with extensions as needed, to implement necessary changes.
The Office of Apprenticeship (OA) recognizes that program sponsors and providers of related instruction may require more information and clarification regarding electronic media. OA will consult with SAAs to develop and issue further guidance illustrating the appropriate use of electronic media. This information will be posted on the OA regulations Web page, www.doleta.gov/oa/regulations.cfm.
For more information about the revised regulations, please contact OA at (202) 693 2796 or