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Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Apprenticeship information and FAQs


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Frequently asked questions about apprenticeship and on-the-job training (OJT) programs

Are you an employer? A veteran? A student? Or are you an employed person seeking advancement, an unemployed worker or a dislocated worker seeking more information about apprenticeship and on-the-job training (OJT) programs?

The information below and at the "FAQs" link at left may be of assistance to you.

What is apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a formal system of employee training that combines on-the-job training with related technical instruction. It is designed to produce craft-workers who are fully competent in all aspects of an occupation, including:  knowledge, skill and proficiency on the job. With apprenticeship training, there is a written contract between the apprentice and the sponsor, approved by and registered with the state of Minnesota, that specifies the length of the training, school hours, an outline of the skills of the trade to be learned and the wages the apprentice will receive.

Minnesota's apprenticeship program allows employers to design their own apprenticeship program that provides apprentices with specific skills, training and job-related instruction tailored to the company's needs.

When did Minnesota's apprenticeship program begin? How many apprentices have participated in a registered program?
The federal government recognized the need for states to have trained and skilled workers and subsequently approved the Minnesota Apprenticeship Program submitted in 1939. Upon approval by the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship, the state of Minnesota conducted its first Apprenticeship Advisory Council (now Apprenticeship Board) meeting Sept. 18, 1939, chaired by Dr. C.A. Prosser of the Dunwoody Institute.

Since that time, more than 110,000 apprentices have been registered in Minnesota and thousands of large and small businesses have trained them to meet the needs of the company as well as to provide highly skilled, high-wage jobs for the apprentices.

Is there a shortage of skilled workers in Minnesota?
In all skilled occupations, employers are becoming greatly concerned about the shortage of job candidates with the necessary skills and abilities.

How many occupations have apprentice training programs?
There are roughly 105 occupations training in excess of 10,500 apprentices. See the Apprenticeship Training Program Memo for a list of Minnesota occupations.

What types of companies have apprenticeship programs?
A variety of types and sizes of companies have apprenticeship programs. Construction, manufacturing, transportation and the printing trades benefit greatly from apprenticeship programs. In fact, without a continuous flow of apprentices becoming skilled journeyworkers, quality industrial standards would be severely affected. Recently, apprenticeship programs have been developed for child care development specialist, administrative support services, accounting clerk, hazardous waste technician, low-voltage system installer, experimental machinist and refuse derived fuel processor positions, to name a few.

With few exceptions, any business that requires highly skilled employees -- from a small two-person business to the largest corporations -- can benefit from apprenticeship.

What are the requirements for entry into the apprenticeship program?
A high school diploma or G.E.D. is required for apprentice applicants. Math, science and industrial technical courses are especially helpful in being considered for an apprenticeship.

More information

I need more information about apprenticeship, what do I do?
Contact the Department of Labor and Industry's Apprenticeship unit through any of the following methods:

  • fax a letter on your company letterhead to (651) 284-5740 requesting information to assist you in preparing for a visit from an apprenticeship training field representative;
  • call (651) 284-5005 or 1-800-342-5354 and request more information;
  • write to the Apprenticeship Unit, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, 443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155;
  • email dli.apprenticeship@state.mn.us;
  • visit these related websites: