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Can an apprentice program help your company?

Posted on February 21, 2023

AIM President John Regan’s annual State of Massachusetts Business Address last week highlighted the importance of employers strengthening their workforce development pipeline. One effective way to do that is to develop a strong apprenticeship program.

The Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards (DAS) was established by the Legislature in 1941 with the purpose of helping Massachusetts employers to establish and operate apprenticeship programs that produce skilled workers. The DAS’s mission is to promote, develop, and service registered apprenticeship programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

When many employers hear the words apprentice or apprenticeship programs, they may think that the apprenticeship program is a union-based program and would not be applicable for their non-union company. That is not true. In fact, the commonwealth several years ago published a detailed apprenticeship expansion initiative.

The executive summary highlights the state’s goals with the revamped effort:

“Massachusetts is at a critical juncture for the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship (RA). With the right capacity, structure, incentives, and expertise, the Commonwealth can transform our current RA expansion efforts in non-traditional industries from a set of pilots and grant-funded programs to an established, systemic approach to talent development, retention, and diversification of the apprenticeship pipeline.

The Apprenticeship Expansion Plan process culminated in a set of innovative recommendations:

  • Define clear strategy, governance and institutional infrastructure
  • Formalize apprenticeship recruitment pipeline
  • Articulate simple pathways and transferability
  • Build pipeline of employer partners
  • Streamline process to launch, monitor and discontinue apprenticeship programs
  • Articulate funding mechanisms
  • Establish consistent evaluation systems.”

For employers interested in learning more about the apprenticeship process with the state, including how to establish and implement a program, there is detailed information available at the state website.

There are a number of virtual meetings on apprenticeships coming up.

And if you are interested, employers may also complete the application package. According to the agency’s website, it takes approximately a month for the evaluation and approval process to be completed once the appropriate paperwork has been submitted.

AIM members with questions about this or any other human resource issue may call the AIM Employer Hotline at 1-800-470-6277.