You may have heard some of the exciting buzz about apprenticeships in recent years. Perhaps you came across Alaska Economic Trends, a nonpartisan, data-driven magazine published monthly by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, where you read about Major Apprenticeship Expansion in Alaska over the Last Year, or how Apprenticeship is Key to Alaska Hire and Economic Growth. Perhaps you even studied the Alaska Apprenticeship Plan released in October 2018 to stay informed (Kudos to you!).
Perhaps you were curious of apprenticeship initiatives on a broader, national scale, and you found that a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion was created in 2017 following the President’s Executive Order: Expanding Apprenticeships in America. Perhaps you dug deeper and discovered there were also initiatives such as PAYA – Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship that support and promote high-quality youth apprenticeship programs.
So, if you’ve heard and read about apprenticeships, you may have gotten hooked and feel that it could be the path for you. “But where do I start?” – you’ve asked yourself. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s a number of solid hints and suggestions to get you started in your apprenticeship path:
- You can start by visiting the U.S Department of Labor website and reviewing all available occupations in Registered Apprenticeship nationwide. Contrary to a still popular but outdated belief, apprenticeships can be found in virtually all industries, not only in Construction Trades. Advanced Manufacturing, Aviation, Education, Finance & Business, Maritime, Healthcare, Hospitality, Mining, Automotive, Retail, Information Technology, Transportation, Telecommunications – these are all examples of industries with many apprenticeable occupations. You can try to find the apprenticeship that’s right for you by exploring the U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Finder.
- For Alaska apprenticeship programs, the best place to start is the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development website. Next step is to visit your local Job Center and, if available, talk to an Employment Services Technician in the Career Support and Training Services Division about your desire to become an apprentice. Employment Services Technicians can connect prospective apprentices with employers in various industries that have been approved to hire and train apprentices. For a full list of very capable Employment Services Technicians, visit State of Alaska Employee Directory.
Tip: The Alaska Job Center Network currently offers ‘Introduction to Healthcare Apprenticeship’ workshops in response to a growing demand for skilled workers in healthcare industry. If you think that occupations such as Medical Assistant, Behavioral Health Counselor, or Veterinary Technician are out of your reach because the last thing you’d want is to take student loans to go to college, think again. Not only can you study to become whom you’ve always wanted to be, but you’ll be making money in the process, and setting yourself up for success in the career of your choice. How incredible is that?
- You may take another route – union apprenticeship, which is traditionally in construction trades. If you visit the Alaska Apprenticeship Training Coordinators Association (AATCA) website, you’ll see more than 16 different union sponsored construction trades. Click on a training program of your choice to find out all the details pertaining to the program. Some trades may have application deadlines so make sure you research the website thoroughly.
Tip: In order to join a union sponsored trade, you have to follow the requirements outlined by the union. To be eligible for an interview, in most cases you have to:
- Submit an application
- Meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Have a High School Diploma or GED
- Have a valid Alaska Driver’s License
- Have no DUI or DWI on your driving record in the last three (3) years from application closing date
- Present I-9 Employment Verification Documentation
- Present WorkKeys test results*
- Additionally, you must pass a drug and alcohol test once you have completed the interview process, and you must be able to pass random drug and alcohol testing while enrolled in the program.
- Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), yet another route to consider, is a national construction industry trade association that provides participating employers with immediate access to qualified workers. ABC of Alaska currently offers apprenticeship and craft training in the following trades: Electrician, Plumber, Carpenter, Pipe Fitter, Sprinkler Fitter, Sheet Metal, HVAC, and Insulation. The application process is similar to the one outlined for union sponsored trades. You’d have to submit an application with additional documents, and go through the interview process. If you meet the minimum requirements, you will be entered into the ranked applicant pool to fill apprenticeship openings as they occur.
As you can see, there are many different pathways to registered apprenticeship in many different industries and occupations. It will require effort, persistence, and motivation on your part, but it’s beyond worth it, you’ve got this! Think Apprenticeship!
In my previous blog posts, I talked about the many proven benefits of registered apprenticeship programs – you can read these articles here.
If you would like assistance or have questions, please visit our ACPE Success Center where our knowledgeable College & Career Specialists are ready to assist you with exploring pathways to registered apprenticeship.