KCMA Apprenticeships

Shape the next generation of skilled craftsmen.

More Information on KCMA Apprenticeships

Which of my employees will this be for?

Apprenticeships are generally for positions that require significant training for someone to be fully competent. A registered apprenticeship can be as short as one year, and KCMA has initially focused on one-year programs. These apprenticeships can be used to help employees grow, reward high performers, and support goals such as cross-training of workers. Apprentices can be incumbent workers as well as new workers, who typically will begin with a probation period before they are eligible.

Why should we take part in apprenticeship for our workers?

Apprenticeship is a proven, flexible, employer-driven strategy to recruit, train, and retain a qualified workforce. Since it’s so difficult and expensive to find workers who already have the knowledge and experience we need, setting up an earn-and-learn program allows us to grow.

Some of the advantages of registered apprenticeship are:

  • Employee retention, with 91% of apprentices staying at the job where they received training at least 9 months after they complete their apprenticeship
  • Return on investment: employers report an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity for every dollar spent on apprenticeship
  • A way to invest in employee development
  • Streamlined training that maps closely to skills and competencies
  • A recruitment draw for applicants who are interested in a career, not just a job
  • Diverse applicant pool
  • Ability to access incentives, training support, and other funding sources

There have been major investments at the federal and state levels to incentivize apprenticeship. These vary by state, which in some cases can cover tuition support of $2,500 or more per apprentice. Some programs may also cover internal training.

Above all, the growth in apprenticeship is due to its success as a training model. A detailed outline of training means that everyone—apprentices, trainers, supervisors, and HR—is on the same page about workers need to learn to be successful. That gives workers more accountability for their learning and understanding, as well as a sense that they are progressing in their career. That’s a big reason why studies show higher retention of workers in registered apprenticeship programs. Meanwhile, apprenticeship also gives a lot of structure to on-the-job training, so mentors and trainers are sure they have covered essential areas, including basic safety, daily operations, troubleshooting, and more.

How does it work?

KCMA is publishing national guidelines for apprenticeship, which lay out model standards for on-the-job training and related instruction for hard-to-fill occupations. Currently KCMA has drafted standards for cabinet finishers. More are on the way.

These standards will jumpstart KCMA members in starting up their own apprenticeship. Below are the general steps for employers. Jobs for the Future is in place to work with prospective sponsors, understand the options that will work best for them, connect with state and federal resources, and set up the program efficiently.

  1. Review the KCMA standards to see what fits for your hard-to-fill or hard-to-train occupations.
  2. Compare the standards to your own training outlines. You can make additions and changes to match your operations and training needs, but you will need to meet the total training hours (at least 2000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of related instruction).
  3. Put together your related instruction. Some companies complete all the training internally, but many partner with a community college or use an online training provider (such as Tooling U) for some of the training.
  4. Understand what it takes to be an apprenticeship sponsor. Sponsors have a document for their apprentices, and this information is filed electronically for each apprentice. Sponsors then update the records as apprentices complete their apprenticeship (becoming “journeyworkers.”)
  5. Identify funding that might support apprenticeship and training expenses.
  6. Submit your apprenticeship for approval in the state where you are located, or with the federal Office of Apprenticeship. The documents include a description of your program, the occupation and wage progression, on-the-job training competencies, related instruction, and key elements how you will manage the apprenticeship. (JFF will help you understand where to file, connect you with apprenticeship training representatives, and help prepare documentation.)
  7. Make sure you have your training in place and have a way to track both on-the-job training and related instruction. It will be important to get buy-in from supervisors, trainers, and other key people.
  8. Post your apprenticeship opportunities. They can be for new and incumbent workers.
  9. Select mentors who are already proficient to help guide apprentices.
  10. Enroll your apprentices and start them in the program.
  11. Track apprentices and continuously improve.