Unlike registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeship programs are more preparatory, in nature. Drawing from the guidance and information notices issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (U. S. DOL) and several states, this resource describes characteristics for high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs, as an approach to serve a wide range of populations.

Pre-apprenticeship programs prepare individuals for success in registered apprenticeship programs and in careers.  They are particularly useful for helping industries seeking a pipeline of skilled candidates and for non-traditional workers interested in engaging in high-demand occupations. This guide draws from federal and states guidance and the authors’ experiences with successful apprenticeship readiness programs nationwide to describe the characteristics of and an approach for developing pre-apprenticeship programs for diverse populations

Major Findings & Recommendations

The guide presents six programmatic elements that ensure both equity and quality in pre-apprenticeship programs.  The following elements can be customized for particular industries and participant populations.

  • Transparent entry and success requirements must be articulated to program applicants to ensure that all prerequisites, participation, skills gain, and work requirements are understood.
  • Pre-apprenticeship curriculum designed to incorporate skills required by local businesses and registered apprenticeship programs to ensure relevant academic, technical, and employability skills development.
  • The program culminates in one or more industry-recognized credentials that support entry into the workforce and future credential gains that align with the training.
  • Skills development through hands-on activities and work-based learning in which participants complete meaningful tasks in a workplace, or lab while applying relevant skills to the target industry and occupation.
  • Offering academic, career exploration, and wraparound supports to orient participants to the range of occupations, career paths, and wages available in the industry, support postsecondary credentials aligned with career interests, and identify short- and long-term goals and supports for success.
  • Transition into a high-quality apprenticeship program through strong partnerships with business, industry, and program sponsors who provide access to job interviews or registered apprenticeship program entry for successful pre-apprenticeship program completers.