Registered apprenticeship is a voluntary training program that has proven to be highly effective for centuries. Throughout recorded history, people have been transferring skills from one generation to another in some form of apprenticeship. Today the need for skilled tradesmen or craftsmen in Kentucky is more critical than ever. Apprenticeship is a training system that produces highly skilled workers who are able to meet the demands of employers who are competing in a highly competitive environment. Each and every day the U.S. economy continues to come under increasing competitive global pressure. In that regard, Kentucky not only finds itself economically competing with other states but with the entire manufacturing world. The most important asset any region or state must posses in today’s competitive market is a highly trained and skilled workforce. One significant way to create and maintain a skilled workforce is through a highly effective on-the-job apprenticeship training program.
The unique feature of the apprenticeship concept is that on-the-job training is supplemented with technical classroom instruction. Apprentices work under the supervision of qualified journeyworkers to develop their chosen trade or skill and learn the techniques, materials, and equipment associated with that trade. Classroom instruction that provides training in theoretical and technical aspects of the trade is required. Minimum class time is 144 hours for each year of apprenticeship, but may be higher for some trades. Apprentices are generally evaluated every six months and receive pay raises based upon their proven progress in skill development as well as their classroom proficiency. When a registered apprenticeship program sponsor verifies that the apprentice has fulfilled all requirements of the training program, the Labor Cabinet will issue a certificate of completion. This nationally recognized certification is verification that the completing apprentice is a fully qualified skilled worker in the trade.