Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment and Training, Office of Apprenticeship and Training developed a new registered pre-apprenticeship program to complement its existing registered apprenticeship programs.

The office will approve the program providers and will post a list of qualified pre-apprenticeship programs on its website.

Pre-apprenticeship programs are ideal for individuals who lack experience or education but want to build a solid foundation to start a successful career. As Delaware’s unemployment rate drops, disadvantaged and underrepresented populations will be at a greater risk of being left behind. Pre-apprenticeship opportunities will allow these populations to gain the needed hard and soft skills for a successful career.

Pre-apprenticeship programs refer to a program or set of strategies designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a registered apprenticeship program. Pre-apprenticeship programs are designed to create a qualified pipeline of individuals ready to become registered apprentices; expand registered apprentices to include underrepresented participants such as nontraditional gender or race/ethnicity, disadvantaged populations or low-skilled workers; and recognize credit for related education or training.

Registered apprenticeship is an effective “earn while you learn” model with a long history of providing career ladders and pathways to the middle class, particularly for the building and construction industry but increasingly in other industries as well. In calendar year 2018, the average starting wage for an apprentice was $14.70 per hour, or $29,400 per year, with wages upon completion averaging at $24 per hour, or $48,000 per year. These results demonstrate the advantages a registered apprenticeship offers in providing a significant wage gain and a clear career path for entry-level workers.

Quality pre-apprenticeship programs can play a valuable role in preparing qualified entry-level workers for registered apprenticeship careers while contributing to the development of a diverse and skilled workforce. Through various program designs and approaches, pre-apprenticeship programs can be adapted to meet the needs of diverse populations being trained, the various employers and sponsors they serve and specific opportunities within the local labor market.

The pre-apprenticeship policies and procedures and application were released on Feb. 15 and are available at bit.ly/2tgOYNA.

For more, call 761-8328, email apprenticeship@delaware.gov or visit bit.ly/2tgOYNA.