Connecting to Registered Apprenticeship Pathways for YouthBuild raises awareness for YouthBuild program staff in understanding Registered Apprenticeship, the benefits of creating a Registered Apprenticeship career pathway for youth, and methods for developing and strengthening partnerships that will advance participants’ transition to advanced training and employment with livable wages.

Registered Apprenticeship (RA) is an industry-driven model that combines on-the-job learning with job-related instruction. As an “earn and learn” model, apprentices are employed and earn wages from the first day on the job. Apprenticeship is a flexible training strategy that can be customized to meet the needs of any business. The model contributes to higher performance outcomes in training to employment, worker retention, and higher wage earnings for employees. The average wage for a fully proficient worker who completed an apprenticeship translates to approximately $50,000 annually and apprentices who complete their program earn approximately $300,000 more over their career than similar job seekers without apprenticeship training. 


The July 2014 enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) includes several changes that strengthen Registered Apprenticeship as a career pathway, including incorporating registered apprenticeship as a workforce strategy across the spectrum of WIOA services for adults and youth. The law cites pre-apprenticeship activities and work-based learning among the required youth program elements. WIOA also recognizes YouthBuild as a pre-apprenticeship model. WIOA also shifts the priority of youth formula funding to serving out-of-school youth ages 16-24. This strengthens the position of YouthBuild programs, which already target this population, as experienced workforce partners for the broader workforce system and experts in serving out-of-school youth successfully. WIOA further engages the YouthBuild program by making it a required One-Stop partner, providing the opportunity for YouthBuild to share its expertise in serving out-of-school youth.

On April 16, 2014, President Obama announced the “American Job Training Investments: Skills and Jobs to Build a Stronger Middle Class,” which represented the single largest investment to expand apprenticeships to workers in U.S. history. The $175 million dollar investment will support the goal of doubling the number of available apprenticeships by 2020, through the award of 46 grants under DOL’s American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI). AAI was specifically designed to support projects which create career pathways that align with other post-secondary educational offerings while leveraging the development of public policies that will increase demand for apprenticeship and support sustainability. This effort will increase registered apprenticeship pathways beyond the traditional construction fields and into emerging high-growth industries such as Health Care and Internet Technology. 

Registered Apprenticeship Toolkit

To assist YouthBuild Programs to transition participants into a Registered Apprenticeship career pathway, a toolkit has been developed. The DOL YouthBuild Registered Apprenticeship Toolkit provides practical steps and best practices to implement an RA career pathway. The Toolkit also includes an explanation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Section 3 program and a detailed list of best practices for every step of the RA career pathway, from assessing and preparing current participants to making connections to existing RA partners and transitioning youth into placements in RA programs.

The DOL YouthBuild Registered Apprenticeship Toolkit offers: 

Pathways to Apprenticeship White Paper which provides case studies from YouthBuild programs that have successfully made links to Registered Apprenticeships.

Facilitator's Guide and Step-In Trainings that include helpful resources and planning tools for grantees to develop RA partnership strategies. The guide and trainings are resources that coaches can use in working with a grant site but can also be helpful for Program Directors to use with staff as part of developing an RA partnership plan.

The DOL Registered Apprenticeship Toolkit PowerPoint Presentation that highlights specific programs and resources that can support program development efforts.

Pathways to Registered Apprenticeship Videos

Operation Fresh Start YouthBuild’s Registered Apprenticeship Videos which highlight the great work of one grantee that has successfully introduced YouthBuild graduates into Registered Apprenticeship through their Graduate Crew model:

  1. Step-in Introduction
  2. Accessing Support Services
  3. Establishing Partnerships for Long-Term Success
  4. Preparing YouthBuild Participants for Registered Apprenticeship