With the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, clean energy companies are scrambling to understand and implement Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs). Staff charged with leadership & development within companies are actively building their capacity to administer this powerful workforce development tool. In HeatSpring’s free course, How to Start Your Registered Apprenticeship Program, Janene Erne, a Regional Apprenticeship Administrator from Workforce Intelligence Network broke it down.  Tune into the video or the transcript below.

What is a registered apprenticeship? It’s a paid job – number one – that provides on-the-job learning in a very structured environment because you are creating an on-the-job training plan. That’s the work process schedule.

Also, the next part of it is classroom learning or related technical instruction (RTI). So your apprentices learn specific tasks on the job, and then they take classes directly related to what they’re learning on the job. So they’re not going to be taking history and all those gen eds [general education courses.] They’re going to be taking specifically trade-related classes – AC/DC fundamentals, et cetera. 

And then of course, the biggest part of it is the mentorship – passing that institutional knowledge down from your long-term experts, your electricians, whatever they are to this new generation, so that you can have that planning in place before you lose them and there’s no one to pass that knowledge onto. 

This is the certificate that, upon completion, the apprentice gets. It’s signed by The Office of Apprenticeship [in this example, it’s the Michigan Office of Apprenticeship], John Lad. Then, your signature, the employer’s signature, goes on the other end as well as the apprentice’s name and trade.

This certificate is a national certificate. It is recognized nationally, so it serves as a credential to allow an apprentice to work anywhere they want to. However, licensers supersede this. If your state requires you to be a licensed Michigan electrician, you have to have that credential before you can work regardless of this. 

So key partners, obviously you can’t do an apprenticeship without the employer, the apprentices or the US Department of Labor. RTI providers, those are your local community colleges or your industry specific training that’s available out there. Intermediaries, those are those joint programs, whether they’re union or non-union. And then your workforce development agencies, at least in Michigan, is where our funding for apprenticeship sits as well as our talent. So if you’re looking for apprentices, they have a pool of candidates and then they also have the funding that’s available both federally and nationally.