Registered Apprenticeship key to recruit, retain skilled employees

Martha Garcia-Tappa
Martha Garcia-Tappa

In today’s ever-changing workforce, employers have to find unique tactics to attract skilled employees. 

A Registered Apprenticeship (RA) Program is a rewarding option for a business and a future employee. The opportunity combines on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction. The program offers certification and even a college degree, depending on the occupation.

An RA Program allows an apprentice to receive a paycheck from Day One and wages increase as skills grow. They receive on-the-job training by an experienced mentor. For related training, or classroom training, they attend a community college, technical school or apprenticeship training facility. 

RA Programs result in guaranteed qualified employees with a nationally recognized U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) credential award. The programs reduce turnover costs and increase employee retention. About 85% of employees who finish an RA Program remain employed after its completion.  

RA programs also allow increased access to more high-demand occupations, particularly as employers look for more skills-based solutions to their pipelines.

Our future workforce is also able to explore rewarding opportunities. Programs, for ages 16 to 24, combine academic and technical classroom instruction with work experience and give youth the chance to choose multiple pathways – college, full-time employment or a combination. 

Area school districts are offering exposure to apprenticeships as early as middle school. The DOL has collaborated with Scholastic to develop materials to introduce middle school students, parents, and teachers to future careers and apprenticeships.

There are hundreds of RA occupations from healthcare to transportation, information technology, food, hospitality services, logistics transportation and advanced manufacturing. You may find your business already has an occupation that qualifies for an RA Program. 

Your business may qualify to receive a grant to help offset the costs. The Registered Apprenticeship Development Fund awards grants of up to $1 million for new programs in high-demand occupations. 

This year, Iowa added $50 million in additional support for new high-demand career pathways beginning at the high school level.

National Apprenticeship Week is Nov. 14-20. The nationwide celebration highlights events that showcase the successes and value of a Registered Apprenticeship. Visit to find an event near you. 

Implementing a Registered Apprenticeship Program in your business may be the proven solution for recruiting, training, and retaining world-class talent. 

Learn more at or by calling IowaWORKS at (563) 445-3200, press 3. 

Martha Garcia-Tappa is a business engagement consultant with IowaWORKS, Davenport. She can be reached at (563) 445-3200 Ext. 43311 or

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