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b. 2. Registered Apprenticeship

Describe how the State will incorporate Registered Apprenticeship into its strategy for service design and delivery (e.g., job center staff taking applications and conducting assessments).

Current Narrative:

The state is actively involved in continual evaluation of and updating its full strategy for the implementation of registered apprenticeships throughout the state. One way Indiana has merged other types of education and training programs is through partnerships between apprenticeships and our community colleges. Ivy Tech Community Colleges partner with registered apprenticeships to provide comparable college credits and confer degrees; Vincennes University work with non-unionized organizations to provide college credits and degrees for their registered apprenticeship programs. Indiana supports the connections between our community colleges and registered apprenticeships through allocating funds from the Unemployment Insurance Penalty and Interest fund.

To spearhead those efforts, the Office of Work Based Learning and Apprenticeships was established within DWD in 2018. The state continues to work with the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship in Indiana to coordinate information, expansion, and eligibility of apprenticeships in Indiana. Further development of registered apprenticeships will play an increasingly important role with businesses across all industries by providing a pipeline of skilled workers to help them remain competitive, thus creating a core component of Indiana’s strategies for service design and delivery. Many employers are increasing their use of registered apprenticeships as a “grow your own” talent strategy to increase and diversify their pipeline of skilled workers. This proven workforce strategy offers apprentices opportunities to earn a salary while they learn the skills employers demand in a variety of occupations.

Indiana has over 1,000 active apprenticeship programs and had nearly 17,000 active apprentices in FY 2018.[1] We are one of the largest apprenticeship states in the nation as far as size and number of programs available. Indiana is also one of the top states in terms of completions. Yet, like the rest of the nation, Indiana currently lacks much needed diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and business sector roles.

DWD received both the ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grant and the ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grant facilitate growing and expanding apprenticeships throughout the state. Through the support of these grants, DWD has worked with Indiana’s USDOL Office of Apprenticeships and other key stakeholders to:

  • Identify ways to integrate registered apprenticeship into state education and workforce systems (i.e. WIOA),
  • Engage industry and other partners to expand apprenticeship to new sectors, such as IT, healthcare, cybersecurity and business services and to new non-traditional populations at scale,
  • Conduct outreach and work with employers to start other new, quality work-based learning programs,
  • Identify ways to promote greater inclusion and diversity in apprenticeship such as sub-grants with The Indiana Plan LLC,
  • Conduct research on youth apprenticeship models,
  • Serve as local partners to implement CTE Programs of Study under Perkins,
  • Incorporate registered apprenticeship programs on to the state Education, Training and Provider List (ETPL), and
  • Create a state apprenticeship model (SEALs).

As Indiana expands registered apprenticeships through OWBLA, we want to specifically direct this strategy towards our target populations. A highlight of those populations we intend to increase participation and completion of these programs include:

  • Veterans: Purdue University was one of the grantees that received grant dollars through the Presidential Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships specifically targeting veterans.[2] We will look to create more partnerships between INVets and employers that provide registered apprenticeship opportunities. Connecting the skill sets that veterans have gained during their time of service to these opportunities will provide a benefit to both veterans living in Indiana and our employer community.
  • Single mothers: Greater access to registered apprenticeships in the skilled trades can help single mothers achieve economic security and fill predicted skills shortages in these sectors. From pre-apprenticeships to registered apprenticeships, opportunities to earn and learn in these trades provide good careers with family-sustaining earnings and long-term employment prospects are favorable. While apprenticeships in the trades offer good jobs with benefits, only a small minority of apprentices in the trades are women. Pre-apprenticeship programs can provide women with the foundational skills, supports, networks, and knowledge needed for entering and succeeding in an apprenticeship. As our WorkOnes can help promote these opportunities to single mothers, our business services need to simultaneously work with our businesses to make them inclusive and welcoming for women. As we promote non-traditional hiring practices through our business services representative, employers start to tap into this viable talent pipeline to fill jobs at various entry levels. Indiana can adapt resources and strategies the best practices identified by the National for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment.[3]
  • Ex-Offenders: The occupations currently offered within the IDOC’s Apprenticeship programs tend to be in industries where second chance employment is supported. Through both HIRE and WorkOnes, ex-offenders can be actively connected to these opportunities, if they align with their interests. Because they combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction, an ex-offender could learn academic and technical skills and earn a stable wage, with the option for regular pay increases during and after the program.
  • Historically underrepresented minorities:Pre-apprenticeship and pre-employment programs can be especially valuable for people of color who have been historically underrepresented in certain industries and apprenticeships. These programs can be paired with Adult Education to help workers acquire a basic level of academic- and industry-relevant skills. Effective pre-apprenticeship programs expose workers to job sites and work environments, as well as provide income support for workers to address barriers to employment. Pre-employment and pre-apprenticeship programs also create formal access points to employers. Either apprenticeship program or WIOA Adult and Dislocated can help with direct expenses from this program, such as childcare and transportation.
  • Urban and Rural Populations: Apprenticeships, both traditional registered apprenticeships through the US Department of Labor and non-traditional developed through Indiana’s Office of Work Based Learning and Apprenticeship, can provide consistent wages, debt-free education and higher wages to urban and rural Hoosiers. Workers who complete an apprenticeship earn an average starting salary of $50,000 and earn about $300,000 more than comparable workers over their lifetimes. Employers also benefit from having the ability to build a pipeline of skilled workers.[4] Scaling access to state and federal apprenticeship programs will provide a way for urban students to earn postsecondary credentials and an income simultaneously. Pre- and/or youth-apprenticeship programs can aim to define clear career paths, help students (either in K-12 or adults) choose the best track for them, and prepare them to secure and succeed in full-time employment.
  • At-Risk Youth: Apprenticeships can lack equity and diversity in their workforce, limiting access and opportunities to many of Indiana’s target populations that could foster this talent pipeline. Indiana could employ pre-apprenticeship and bridge programs to increase access and improve the odds of success for candidates who need job-readiness supports, such as at-risk youth. Pre-apprenticeship programs can introduce people to the workplace culture and expectations, developing employability skills as part of the education and training. Younger apprenticeship candidates may not be job-ready upon their graduation from high school, and they may not want to take the traditional four-year higher education route. Merging pre-apprenticeships with the redesigned CTE programs of study could offer another option for high school students to earn a postsecondary credential and an income as they begin their career. If we connect pre-apprenticeships to high school CTE courses, wraparound supports critical to at-risk students’ success (e.g., career counseling, mentoring, and accommodations) can assist students succeed in this opportunity.[5]

With the regional Workforce Development Boards becoming registered apprenticeship Intermediaries, they can assist in the expansion and facilitation of all registered apprenticeship programming across the state. Indiana will continue to expand registered apprenticeship programs, as well as the number of apprentices enrolled in these programs. In further support of the Plan’s Goals and Strategies, Indiana will also continue to expand the opportunities for students to participate in programs that lead to registered apprenticeship while earning high school credit toward graduation.

[1] US Department of Labor. Registered Apprenticeship National Results Fiscal Year 2018.

[2] Department of Labor, 2019. Overview of the Scaling Apprenticeship through Sector-Based Strategies Grant Program and Project Summaries.

[3] The National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment at Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT) provides strategies and practical applications to increase the number of women entering and being retained in registered apprenticeship through our online resources, technical assistance, and training.

[4]US DOL Apprenticeship Toolkit.

[5] Jobs For the Future, 2019. Growing Equity and Diversity through Apprenticeship: Business Perspectives.