Program graduates can turn classroom and on-the-job training into college credits.
The U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, have launched the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium, a new effort that will allow graduates of Registered Apprenticeship programs to turn their years of rigorous on-the-job and classroom training into college credits toward an associate or bachelor degree.
“Strengthening the common-sense connection between apprenticeships and colleges is just one of the ways that we are transforming apprenticeship for the 21st century economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “As a result of this exciting new consortium, graduates of a Registered Apprenticeship program will not only have better access to jobs that lead to a sustainable career, but they’ll also have better access to an education—all with little or no debt.”
Vice President Joseph R. Biden announced the launch of the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium in his remarks to the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 2014.
“The decision to prepare a student for college or career is no longer an option in today’s competitive global economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “To ensure a highly skilled and trained workforce that can compete with the best and brightest across the world, we have to train our students for college and career. This program provides a much needed pathway for students to develop needed technical skills while also pursuing a college degree, strengthening the middle class.”
The national consortium is expected to accomplish a number of important goals:
- enable apprentices to earn college credit for their Registered Apprenticeship experience and accelerate attainment of an associate or bachelor degree;
- increase college graduation rates through a new pipeline of degree seekers;
- enhance the competitiveness of businesses by enlarging the pool of highly-trained workers;
- increase the pool of highly-trained workers to enhance the competitiveness of American employers;
- and strengthen relationships among Registered Apprenticeship programs and post-secondary institutions nationwide.
Registered Apprenticeship is an “earn while you learn” model that provides a combination of on-the-job learning and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly-skilled occupation. Programs are sponsored by joint employer and labor groups, individual employers, or employer associations. Currently the Registered Apprenticeship system includes a network of more than 19,000 programs nationwide, offering nearly 1,000 different career opportunities.
Participating sponsors will have their programs evaluated by a third-party organization to determine the college credit value of the apprenticeship completion certificate. Registered Apprenticeship graduates will be able to earn up to 60 college credits based on their apprenticeship experience. The American Council on Education and the National College Credit Recommendation Service can serve as acceptable third-party evaluators. To be eligible, colleges participating in the consortium must be degree granting institutions accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.