There are four key roles within Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) – employers, sponsors (also known as administrators), Related Technical Instruction (RTI) providers, and supportive services. Registered Apprenticeship Programs can be developed under different sponsors. In HeatSpring’s free course, How to Start Your Registered Apprenticeship Program, Becky Long from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) shares three different ways employers can build out their RAPs, engaging different sponsorship models – joint labor – management sponsored, group-sponsored, or employer-sponsored. Tune into the video or read the transcript below. 

I want to take some time here to focus on different ways that solar employers could get involved in the registered apprenticeship system. And so the way we are breaking it down here is into several types of apprenticeship programs, breaking it down by the type of sponsor. 

The sponsor organization is the organization that registers the apprenticeship program and administers it.

And so as a company, you can choose to participate in, for example, a joint labor-management sponsored apprenticeship program. That would be working in collaboration with a labor union. You could do so through, for example, a project labor agreement. You could become a signatory contractor. You could also talk with that union about other arrangements.

The second type we have listed here is a group-sponsored program. So these programs can be sponsored by various types of organizations such as an educational institution. We often see community colleges sponsoring registered apprenticeship programs. Trade associations. There are a number of construction trade associations that sponsor potentially relevant registered apprenticeship programs. Then it could also be community-based organizations, for example. 

The third type we’ve got listed here is employer-sponsored. So an employer can create, register, and administer their own in-house apprenticeship program. They would be responsible for all of that registration, administration, as well as the on-the-job training and the related instruction. 

However, that related instruction, which is that classroom or online training (that more formal piece), they could actually collaborate still with an educational institution such as a community college or a training provider. The employer would be responsible for the overall administration of that.

There are a number of reasons that an employer may choose one or even, more than one of these options, depending on what part of the country they may be working in. For example, depending on how active organized labor is in a given state, depending on the chapters of a construction trade association in a given state or region, for example, that may run a group sponsored apprenticeship program.

[It’s important to be] thinking about  you as the employer, how much would you want to tailor the training in the apprenticeship program to meet your needs? And if you really want to tailor it more, you might want to think about creating your own in-house program. So there’s just a number of reasons that you may want to explore one or more of these options.