Designing a Registered Apprenticeship Program

Key Components:

There are five key components of a registered apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship Components

The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Apprenticeship describes these elements in “A Quick Start Toolkit: Building Registered Apprenticeship Program,” which we refer to throughout the Blueprint:

Employer Involvement: Employers are the foundation of every apprenticeship program and the skills needed by their workforce are at the core. Businesses must play an active role in building the program and be involved in every step in designing the apprenticeship.

On-the-Job Training: Every program includes structured on-the-job training. Apprentices get hands-on training from an experienced mentor at the job site for typically not less than one year. On-the-job training is developed through mapping the skills and knowledge that the apprentice must learn over the course of the program in order to be fully proficient at the job.

Related Instruction: Apprentices receive related instruction that complements on-the-job learning. This instruction delivers the technical, workforce, and academic competencies that apply to the job. It can be provided by a community college, a technical school, or an apprenticeship training school – or by the business itself. Education partners collaborate with business to develop the curriculum based on the skills and knowledge needed by apprentices. All partners work together to identify how to pay for the related instruction, including the cost to the employer and other funds that can be leveraged.

Rewards for Skill Gains: Apprentices receive increases in pay as their skills and knowledge increase. Start by establishing an entry wage and an ending wage, and build in progressive wage increases through the apprenticeship as skill benchmarks are attained by apprentices. Progressive wage increases help reward and motivate apprentices as they advance through their training.

National Occupational Credential: Every graduate of a Registered Apprenticeship program receives a nationally-recognized credential. As you build the program, keep in mind that apprenticeship programs are designed to ensure that apprentices master every skill and have all the knowledge needed to be fully proficient for a specific occupation.

Your Apprenticeship Program:

Choose the group model if: Choose the individual model if:
Your company is small, you plan to hire a few apprentices each year, you need machinists, and/or you are comfortable making decisions by consensus with other manufacturers using the group model. Your company is large, you plan to hire more than five apprentices each year, you have the administrative capacity to manage your program, and/or you are prefer to have complete control over your program.

For Assistance with Developing Your Apprenticeship Program or Joining the Group Model:

Contact Megan Wagner Ingram at

or Vicki Thompson at 

Grant Information
Find Your Occupation
Reimbursement Policies and Scenarios
Employer Application

Additional Information:


Understanding the Standards of Apprenticeship:

The Standards of Apprenticeship—often referred to as ‘standards’ spell out the nuts and bolts of your apprenticeship program—the occupational focus, how your company will select apprentices, the type of training that is covered on the job and in the classroom, and how apprentices will be evaluated. A registered apprenticeship program must adhere to the following standards:

  • The starting age of an apprentice to be not less than 16
  • Equal Opportunity Employment
  • Selection of apprentices on the basis of qualifications alone
  • Apprentice receives training and experience on the job
  • Organized training and learning
  • A progressive wage schedule
  • Assigned supervision
  • Standardized evaluations
  • Training records are maintained
  • Mentor-mentee relationship
  • Certification/Certificate of Completion

Additionally, Standards of Apprenticeship in both Ohio and Pennsylvania call for the following:

  • Identification of the Sponsor
  • List of occupations (ONET codes) associated with the Apprenticeship
  • Definitions of terms used in the Standards
  • The application procedure
  • Selection procedures
  • Provision on the awarding of credit for previous experience
  • Defined probationary period
  • Work Process – On-the-job training (OJT) or on-the-job learning (OJL)
  • Related Technical Instruction (RTI) or Related Instruction (RI)
  • Defined progression steps and wages
  • Ratio of apprentices to journeyworkers
  • Complaint procedures
  • Apprenticeship Agreements
  • Safety & Health Training
  • Hours and conditions of work
  • Continuous employment
  • Cancellation of apprenticeship agreement
  • Program registration/notice of registration agency
  • Affirmative Action Plan

For a detailed explanation of these elements, please refer to the Appendix “Annotated Standards of Apprenticeship.”

If you are interested in the group sponsored model, your company will adopt the Standards of Apprenticeship registered by MVMC. If you are interested in developing an individual apprenticeship, we can assist you in defining the standards that are right for your company and connect you with the appropriate state officials to ensure your standards meet the requirements of your state.

In addition to the Standards of Apprenticeship discussed above, each registered apprenticeship must define the Work Processes or Core Competencies that will be learned through on the job training (OJT) as well as the curriculum for Related Technical Instruction (RTI; also sometimes referred to as Related Instruction or RI). Elements of OJT and RTI are determined based upon the occupation and key competencies (knowledge, skills, and abilities) needed to do the job.

Staffing Your Apprenticeship Program:

Supervisors, Mentors, and Other Key Roles:

An apprenticeship program requires a team of individuals to function properly. For those manufacturers who choose to participate in the MVMC Group Sponsored Model, that team will include grant staff as well. In a small company, one person may wear many hats, but the following roles will always need to be filled:

Apprenticeship Coordinator: This person takes the lead role in working with the state Office of Apprenticeship to complete paperwork, track apprentice progress, and enter information into the system.

Supervisor: This person is responsible for overseeing the apprentice’s performance.

Mentor: This person is responsible for the apprentice’s on-the-job training (may be multiple people). Sometimes referred to as a journeyworker in the apprenticeship Standards and related documentation, this is a person skilled in the occupation the apprentice is training for. This can be somewhat confusing, because mentors do not have to have a Certificate of Apprenticeship or Journeyman’s card; they simply must have demonstrated expertise in the appropriate competencies. Please see the Appendix (Mentor Toolkit) for additional information about the critical role of the mentor.

Choosing Your Related Technical Instruction Institution:

Alongside OJT, apprentices will complete Related Technical Instruction (RTI) at the rate of 144 contact hours per year of OJT. Contact hours refer to the number of classroom hours that a course must meet during a semester.

The key to a well-designed apprenticeship is RTI that complements OJT, highlighting the academic underpinnings of the concepts and processes being learned at work. RTI may be offered by a number of providers, so long as each provider is named in the Standards of Apprenticeship approved by the Office of Apprenticeship. Classroom, hybrid, and online courses are all allowable.

The Network has a number of education partners, and staff can help you connect with each institution to identify existing courses and gaps that require customized alternatives. At the time of this writing, The Network has identified the following providers for manufacturers interested in offering apprenticeships in machining:

RTI Institution State County Online Courses? NIMS Credentials
A-Tech OH Ashtabula No No
Butler Community College PA Butler No No
Columbiana CCTC OH Columbiana No Yes
Eastern Gateway Community College OH Mahoning No No
Edinboro University PA Erie No No
Kent State University – Trumbull OH Trumbull Yes No
Laurel Technical Institute PA Mercer No No
Lawrence County Area Vo-Tech School PA Lawrence No No
Mahoning CCTC OH Mahoning No Yes
Maplewood CC OH Portage No Yes
National Tooling & Machining Association OH Cleveland Chapter Yes Yes
National Tooling & Machining Association PA Meadville Chapter Yes Yes
New Castle School of Trades PA Mercer No No
Precision Machining Institute PA Crawford Yes No
Trumbull TCTC OH Trumbull No Yes
Tooling U/SME OH Cuyahoga Yes No


Oh PicThe State of Ohio’s Related Technical Instruction provider guidelines:

Program requirements for registered apprenticeship in Ohio state that Related Technical Instruction (RTI) must be designated and/or provided in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly The University System of Ohio and/or The Ohio Board of Regents). This means the State requires your apprentice’s RTI be provided by a state university, community college, private university or college, or career and technical center. You can find a list of providers at:

There are exemptions available. An exemption request for the RTI provider is typically a letter submitted to the Ohio State Apprenticeship Council (OSAC) specifying the exemption request and the RTI provider. Typical allowable RTI provider exemptions:

  • if they have a nationally recognized program,
  • are approved by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship,
  • are approved by the U.S. Department of Education, or
  • are approved by the Higher Learning Commission.

In-house training is also allowable through an exemption if the curricula is approved through a bi-lateral or articulation agreement with an Ohio Department of Higher Education school, and the instructors are subject matter experts (SMEs), and are certified in adult learning-styles teaching.

It is the RTI provider’s responsibility to provide documentation to OSAC of the approval by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Department of Education and/or the Higher Learning Commission.