by Rich Davy
In our work as field representatives for the Apprenticeship Unit at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), we often get phone calls from job seekers who would like to work as an apprentice in an occupation they are interested in. A registered apprenticeship is a way for you to earn a wage and learn the skills required to be competent in a specific field.
When we receive this kind of call, we first look to see if an apprenticeship program for that occupation exists in Minnesota. If there are none and the caller is able to relocate, we help the person do a national search for that apprenticeship. If there are programs in Minnesota, we direct the person to an employer that hires and trains apprentices in that specific occupation and walk them through the following steps:
- Find an employer in your field of choice and approach them as you would if you were seeking employment—by providing your resume, references, etc.
- Tell the employer you would like to work as an apprentice to learn the skills required in your occupation of interest and to receive a credential from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for completing an apprenticeship program. Explain how you think both you and the employer will benefit from the apprenticeship.
- Tell the employer about the basic information DLI needs to initiate an apprenticeship program for their company and their employees. This information includes:
a. a description of the on-the-job training that an apprentice would complete;
b. coursework the apprentice would be expected to complete (144 hours a year);
c. a description of safety training; and
d. a wage schedule for the term of the apprenticeship. (An apprentice usually starts an apprenticeship at 40 to 50 percent of the wage a skilled person would make.)
- Most importantly, provide the employer with the department’s contact information so we can help the employer start the apprenticeship process. The apprenticeship staff will meet with the employer and ensure the whole process can be completed efficiently.
As you consider an apprenticeship, it’s also important that you go in with the expectation and understanding of the benefit it will have for both you and the employer:
- You are likely to stay with that employer during and after your apprenticeship.
- You are willing to learn all aspects of the occupation and will follow an apprenticeship training plan to do so.
- You are willing to start at a lower wage based on your current experience.
Our apprenticeship staff is available to help any job seeker or employer who sees this as an option they would like to pursue. For assistance, please call or e-mail: