Becoming an Apprentice

Are you interested in pursuing an apprenticeship as a way to advance your career? Whether you are at the beginning of your career or considering making a career change, an apprenticeship is an excellent opportunity for career exploration and preparation. Below are some tips for finding and applying to inclusive apprenticeship programs.

Advancing your career through inclusive apprenticeship

Becoming an Apprentice

Disclosing your disability and requesting an accommodation

Prepare to Apply

As you prepare to apply for an apprenticeship, check the apprenticeship program information to confirm the following:

  • Prerequisites: Most apprenticeship programs do not have prerequisites. Some programs may offer a pre-apprenticeship program to help apprentices learn skills needed to meet entry requirements for an apprenticeship program.
  • Length of Apprenticeship: Typically, apprenticeships last 12-18 months. The length of the apprenticeship may vary based on the training and skills required for the job. Check with the apprenticeship program when applying.[1]
  • Costs: Review the application to confirm any costs associated with the educational component of the apprenticeship program. Examples of costs are tuition, books, and materials. Grants, scholarships, and student aid can help cover these costs. Some academic institutions may issue college credit for the educational component of the apprenticeship.
  • Accessibility: Inclusive apprenticeships meet the needs of all apprentices, including apprentices with disabilities. Check with your program about how they accommodate the needs of all participants.

Find Apprenticeship Opportunities

Many agencies and organizations offer resources to help you find an apprenticeship in your desired career path. The following list of resources can help you get started.

Resources to Get You Started

The following organizations are a great starting point to help you learn more about apprenticeships and find apprenticeship opportunities in your local community:

  • Apprenticeship Job Finder at Apprenticeship.gov: Search the Apprenticeship Job Finder for Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP) in your community by employer or by industry. You can connect with an employer or sponsor to learn more about the apprenticeship, including if the apprenticeship is inclusive.
  • American Job Center: Contact your local American Job Center to search for apprenticeship programs in your community.
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) Ticket Program Service Providers: Connect with a Ticket Program service provider if you are interested in working and currently receive disability benefits through Social Security (e.g., SSDI, SSI). Eligible participants can connect with a service provider to receive the support and services they need while finding and maintaining employment.
  • State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Agency: Visit your state vocational rehabilitation (VR) website to search for apprenticeship positions in your area.
  • Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP): H-CAP maintains a National Library of apprenticeships in healthcare. You may browse this library to learn more about the different types of healthcare apprenticeships.
  • Independent Living Center: Connect with your local Independent Living Center for apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Inclusively: Inclusively is an accessible platform that matches employers and qualified individuals with disabilities to apprenticeships and other employment opportunities. Individuals are matched by skill, experience, and accommodation.
  • Apprenticeships for Service Members and Veterans at Apprenticeship.gov: Apprenticeship.gov offers resources and information about apprenticeship opportunities specifically for active service members, service members separating soon, veterans, and veterans with a service-connected disability.
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Services: Veterans and veterans with a service-connected disability can connect with a VR&E counselor about potential apprenticeship opportunities.

Apprenticeship Opportunities

The following organizations offer apprenticeships in a specific field, including technology, cybersecurity, healthcare, and human resources. Connect with these programs if you are interested in an apprenticeship in one of these specific fields:

  • Aon Apprenticeship Program: Aon’s two-year apprenticeship program in insurance and professional services combines an education with a job at Aon. Apprentices work 40 hours per week, which is divided between classroom instruction towards an associate degree and on-the-job training.
  • Apprenti: Apprenti can support your career pathway in information technology. After completing an assessment, they provide training, technical skills, and certifications. Apprenti can connect you with a hiring partner for an apprenticeship.
  • Colorado Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program (C-CAP): The Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs College of Business prepares you to attain skills and certification in cybersecurity for mid-level and advanced-level employment.
  • CompTIA Apprenticeships for Tech: Powered by Maher & Maher, Apprenticeships for Tech offers apprenticeships in a variety of positions within the technology industry for which apprentices earn CompTIA certifications.
  • Cybersecurity Center for Business: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s cybersecurity apprenticeship program provides training and skills for entry-level positions.
  • HR Registered Apprenticeship Program (HR RAP): The Society for Human Resources Management Foundation’s apprenticeship program prepares you for a career in HR. You will receive training, in-class coursework credits, mentoring, and certification.
  • IBM Apprenticeship Program: IBM’s Apprenticeship Program provides technical training and credentials for careers at IBM. These skills are portable, meaning you can use these skills in similar positions at other companies.
  • Three Talents: Three Talents offers training academies that provide people with disabilities with certified skills that lead to high paying IT jobs. This program is delivered through a public/private partnership that provides training and experience tuition free and leads to meaningful jobs.

Secure Financial Aid For Your Classroom Training

dollar symbolYou may be able to receive financial assistance to participate in an apprenticeship program. This assistance may cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, and other class materials. Employers and apprenticeship sponsors often work with local education institutions, such as colleges and universities, to align their apprenticeship programs with the following sources of financial assistance:

  • Federal Pell Grants: If the related technical instruction of the apprenticeship is part of an eligible academic program, a Federal Pell Grant may support costs for tuition and fees, books, and supplies.[2]
  • State Tuition Support: Some state agencies offer tuition support to apprentices. Contact your state agency or visit Apprenticeship.gov to find out if this support is available in your state.
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF): If your apprenticeship training or program was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a financial aid grant. Under the CARES Act HEERF Student Aid program, educational institutions can provide emergency financial aid grants to students who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Students should apply directly through their academic institutions. HEERF Student Aid is issued until the funding is depleted.[3]
  • GI Bill Benefits: If you are a veteran with a disability or service-connected disability, the GI Bill includes an education benefit for on-the-job training and apprenticeships. This education benefit covers assistance for books and supplies, as well as housing.

References

[1] How Can We Help You, U.S. Department of Labor, Apprenticeship.gov

[2] Federal Resources Playbook for Registered Apprenticeship, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA)

[3] Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund – Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education