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Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Apprenticeship -- employers: FAQs

Frequently asked questions about apprenticeship and
on-the-job training (OJT) programs

If I, as an employer, were to consider implementing an apprenticeship program, what support or resources are available from the state of Minnesota?
The Apprenticeship unit will provide support services to sponsoring employers during the entire time the sponsor is registered with the state. The Apprenticeship unit cannot provide monetary support or wage subsidies to sponsors before or after registration of the program. The unit is a no-cost resource that assists you, the employer, in developing a program which, when operational, fully meets your needs.

What are the costs involved in setting up and operating an apprenticeship program?
An employer's costs are minimal, however, when employers decide to sponsor an apprenticeship program, they make a long-term commitment to provide an individual with detailed training. The employer must ensure a skilled worker is available to oversee the training of the apprentice, which does result in certain costs to the employer.

The apprentice must complete required related instruction during the term of the apprenticeship. There is no requirement in the apprenticeship program obligating the employer to pay the costs of related instruction. However, some sponsors provide on-site, company-related instruction at their own expense or have a tuition reimbursement plan available for employees.

In addition, employers keep all records documenting the apprentice's progress during training. This includes both on-the-job and related training records. Recordkeeping is necessary to ensure the apprentice is properly rotated throughout the program at the appropriate time in their training.

If I do set up an apprenticeship program, what are my major benefits?

  • Allows employers to provide career advancement opportunities for employees in the apprenticeship program;
  • Less turnover because, in general, apprentices are more committed to the trade and have higher levels of job satisfaction;
  • Apprentices work while they learn and upon completion of the apprenticeship program, they are ready to contribute to the company's bottom line;
  • Fully-trained, skilled employees that know the business inside and out, from the bottom up;
  • Improves employee relations by creating a closer relationship between management and employee, apprentices often work their way into leadership roles within the company.

As an employer, what are the steps in setting up an apprenticeship program?
In order to set up an apprenticeship program, the employer must have occupations suitable for apprenticeship training. If an employer is interested in pursuing registration of an apprenticeship program, a field representative from the Department of Labor and Industry Apprenticeship unit will meet with the employer to assist in the development of the program.

The Apprenticeship unit uses several criteria to determine if an occupation should, or can be, an apprenticeable trade. Generally the occupation must:

  • Involve manual, mechanical or technical skills, and require at least 2000 hours of training;
  • Be customarily learned in a practical way through on-the-job training and classroom technical instruction;
  • Be clearly identified and recognized throughout an industry or profession as an occupation, the occupation may have upward mobility for career advancement.

If the occupation is deemed apprenticeable, the Apprenticeship unit field representative will continue to meet with the employer to develop and register the program. This involves identifying work processes and related instruction, and is generally the most time-consuming part of the process because the program will be tailored to the company's needs.

A tour is made of the work area to ensure all the training can be provided as outlined and to identify the skilled worker(s) who will assist in the training of the apprentices. After the program is established, the employer recruits the applicants and completes the apprentice training agreements.

The unit's training field representatives are available to provide continuous and timely supportive services to all sponsors once they have registered with the Apprenticeship unit.