Carolyn Renick works in the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) overseeing their work with Apprenticeship, Licensing and Credentialing within their Transition Assistance Programs.
Prior to her coming to VETS in 2019, Renick worked in the Department of Labor’s National Office of Apprenticeship in their strategic engagement division, as well as in the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a senior economist. with Carolyn Renick
What is a Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship program?
Registered Apprenticeship is an industry-driven career pathway where employers develop their future workforce while employees obtain paid work experience, education and a nationally recognized credential. These programs have been registered by either the U.S. Department of Labor or by a state apprenticeship agency and are also referred to as the ‘Earn-While-You-Learn’ training model where apprentices are employed from Day One earning an income, while learning skills to become fully proficient in an occupation.
Why should transitioning service members and veterans consider a Registered Apprenticeship?
Registered Apprenticeship programs provide transitioning service members and veterans the opportunity to learn a new skill that’s outside one’s military occupation, or further develop skills learned during military service in pursuit of a civilian career, all while getting paid.
They work in a structured environment, can earn portable credentials and even college credit, and can tap into their Post-9/11 GI BILL® benefits while in a Registered Apprenticeship. This provides them with a monthly housing allowance in addition to apprentice wages. These programs have been very attractive to veterans as the average starting salary for apprenticeship graduates is $77,000.
What specific military specialties make a good fit in Registered Apprenticeships?
Registered Apprenticeship programs are industry and occupation focused, are typically one to four years in length, and provide the apprentice with the training needed to become fully proficient in an identified role. While many of these programs include occupations in the skilled trades, there are many Registered Apprenticeship programs in growing industries such as IT, cybersecurity, energy, health care, transportation, financial services, hospitality and advanced manufacturing.
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It does not matter what military specialty the veteran had while in service since Registered Apprenticeship programs provide all the training needed for someone to be fully proficient in an occupation. Some programs, however, do require certain experience and/or certifications prior to applying to an apprenticeship, which helps to increase retention in the programs.
What should service members/veterans consider before choosing this route?
Many transitioning service members are focused on going directly into college after their separation from the military. A Registered Apprenticeship program will offer an alternative path to success.
Registered Apprenticeship programs provide a structured environment with formal expectations and outcomes. Registered Apprentices work with a mentor to help ease the transition into a civilian career. Apprentices can also earn credentials and/or college credits that can help advance one’s education standing, and through the program, the Registered Apprentice will develop critical skills that provide a pathway to a career.
Employers are using this model to develop and retain trained employees, as 93% of Registered Apprentice graduates stay with the employer after they complete the program.
What are some recent steps DOL has taken to expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities?
Increasing the number of Registered Apprenticeship programs, as well as the number of apprentices in this country, is a priority within the U.S. Department of Labor, and with the president and Congress. The U.S. Department of Labor has invested more than $330 million dollars since 2021 to promote and expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities, which has contributed to a 102% increase in the number of active apprentices since 2013.
Recent Registered Apprenticeship investments include funding focused on equity, partnerships, youth, pre-apprenticeship, women, veterans, minorities, individuals with disabilities, industry sectors and state expansion.
Employers are recognizing that the Registered Apprenticeship model can help develop, diversify, and retain workers, while at the same time provide an excellent return on investment, as they are seeing a $1.47 return for every $1 invested in their Registered Apprenticeship programs. Participants in these programs can include not only transitioning service members and veterans, but also military spouses and civilians.
To learn more about Registered Apprenticeship, use the Apprenticeship Job Finder tool that lists open apprenticeship opportunities, a Partner Finder tool, as well as resources for employers, career seekers, educators and others.Read comments