Apprenticeships: The Future of Workforce Entry

Apprenticeships…You may have heard about them, but what are they? Do they really only apply to the trades? Apprenticeships can apply to many more occupations than just those in the trades or an industry profession. In fact, there are over 1,200 apprentice-able occupations, from cheesemaking to software development, AND they provide a swifter path to the workforce than a typical university or technical education.  

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is an industry-led, top-notch career pathway that helps employers cultivate and equip their upcoming workforce while granting individuals the opportunity to get paid work experience, receive classroom instruction, and earn an industry-recognized certification.

In simpler terms, an apprenticeship allows the apprentice to work alongside a master in the occupation they are training in. The apprentice must fulfill the required competencies to receive an industry-recognized certification, also known as journeyman status.   

Are Apprenticeships Paid?

The apprentice is paid while they complete their on-the-job training, but they may not get paid for any classroom instruction. However, classroom instruction is typically provided by the employer or of low cost to the apprentice.  

What Are The Benefits of an Apprenticeship?

What Are The Benefits of an Apprenticeship?

Some of the Benefits for Apprentices Include: 

  • Quick Entry to the Workforce 
  • Little or No Debt Burden to Enter the Workforce 
  • On-The-Job Training (Great for those who learn by doing!) 
  • Increased Opportunity for Career Advancement 
  • Close Mentorship 
  • Increased Earning Potential 
  • A transferable, industry-recognized certification 


Some of the Benefits for Employers Include: 

  • Create a Highly Skilled Workforce 
  • Increased Employee Satisfaction and Retainment 
  • Ability to Create Customized Training Solutions to Meet Your Business’ Unique Needs 
  • Retain Knowledge from Expert Employees within the Company 
  • Be Considered for Additional Funding Opportunities for Registered Apprenticeships 

For Which Occupations Can Apprenticeships Be Created?

Apprenticeships can be created for occupations in almost any field—even some that would typically require a university degree or technical education! More apprenticeships in varied industries and fields provides more opportunity for youth to join the workforce without worrying about debt. 

Search Apprenticeship Occupations HERE! 

Guide Star: The Success Story of a Non-Traditional Apprenticeship

While apprenticeships are often thought to be only for the trades, there are ENDLESS possibilities for the occupations that can be entered through an apprenticeship.  

One of most recent apprenticeship success stories in the U.P. is the Guide Star Cybersecurity Youth Registered Apprenticeship. This paid apprenticeship experience gives real-world workforce experience to high school students in the ever-growing field of cybersecurity.  

For this apprenticeship, Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! acted as a United States Department of Labor registered apprenticeship intermediary.  

Cybersecurity Apprenticeship

What is the Difference Between a DOL Registered Apprenticeship and a Non-Registered Apprenticeship?

A Department of Labor (DOL) Registered Apprenticeship confirms that all apprentices for a specific occupation reach the same competencies, which ensures the quality of the apprenticeship. Having a DOL Registered Apprenticeship also allows the apprentice to receive a nationally recognized qualification, which acknowledges that they are competent in this occupation, no matter where they work in the United States.  

A Non-Registered Apprenticeship does not ensure the same competencies have been met, so the quality of the apprenticeship cannot be ensured. These apprenticeships are also not given a nationally recognized qualification.  

What Are the First Steps to Creating an Apprenticeship?


  1. The first step of creating an apprenticeship program is making sure that the occupation is approved for apprenticeship on the DOL Apprenticeship website.  
  2. Contact Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!, and ask to speak to your local Business Services representative.  


From here, a Business Services representative will help guide you through the rest of the apprenticeship creation process.  

DOL Registered Apprenticeship

What is UPMW’s Role as an Intermediary Sponsor of Registered Apprenticeships?

Our role as an Intermediary Sponsor of Registered Apprenticeships means that UPMW works to help employers get the apprenticeship registered as well as partner with other regional stakeholders to make the program successful. UPMW works directly with the DOL to relieve the monitoring and auditing burdens from the company, freeing up time to teach and grow their next workforce! 

Apprenticeships will continue to be highly valuable in a world with ever-changing pathways to the workforce, especially when it comes to relieving the student loan debt burden of youth. This speedy pathway to the workforce will continue to grow in the future. The only question is…will you be a part of it?   

If you’re looking to be an apprentice or start an apprenticeship, contact Upper Peninsula Michigan Works today or email 

Future of Workforce Development