Apprenticeships: Earn While You Learn

Apprenticeships are a win-win situation for both employers and the apprentices. Employers get a talent pipeline of skilled employees, and apprentices earn money while they learn the skills of the trade.

You can find apprenticeships in a broad range of industries: manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, construction, and more. Employers, employer and labor groups, and trade associations sponsor apprenticeships. They often partner with local colleges to deliver the classroom instruction.

It’s a long-term commitment for both employer and apprentice: An apprentice can expect at least 144 hours of occupation-specific technical instruction and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year over three to five years.

Apprentices earn more money as their skill level progresses. Every graduate of an apprenticeship program receives a nationally recognized credential. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average wage for a fully-proficient worker who completes an apprenticeship is $50,000 annually.

Over 250 modern apprenticeship programs are registered in Kentucky, with over 3,500 apprentices. Find a Kentucky apprenticeship.

KCTCS: The Kentucky Community and Technical College System offers up to 85 apprenticeships around the state and expects to increase that to 400-500 over the next five years. An Associate in Applied Science–Apprenticeship Studies Program is available at four KCTCS colleges: Jefferson, Gateway, Elizabethtown, and West Kentucky. Most KCTCS colleges offer apprentice partnerships with one or more local businesses.

Ky FAME: Ky FAME (Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) is a partnership of regional manufacturers that offers earn-while-you-learn, apprenticeship-style programs with competitive wages—several of them through KCTCS colleges.

TRACK: High school students can get started in pre-apprenticeships through the TRACK program. TRACK (Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky) prepares students to enter registered apprenticeship programs after high school graduation.

Cooperative Education: Co-op programs are another type of work-based learning experience. Many Kentucky high schools offer co-op experiences, combining in-school instruction with on-the-job training. Contact your school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) department for more information.

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