Could an Apprenticeship Be The Right Career Path for You?

May 8, 2020

You may be asking, what exactly is an apprenticeship? Apprenticeship is an approach to learning that prepares workers for jobs while meeting the needs of businesses for a highly skilled workforce. Put simply, it is a “learn-while-you-earn” model that is a combination of on the job training, alongside job-related instruction that leads to national skill standards. An apprenticeship is a flexible training strategy that is versatile to the needs of many businesses.

So how does this differ from a traditional college approach? Higher education may leave students laden with debt and lacking sufficient work experience upon graduation. The apprenticeship approach allows workers to earn an income, while also gaining industry and nationally recognized credentials. Most apprenticeships last between one to six years, with hourly wages around $15 an hour, and room for advances as skills increase. Apprenticeships are a great career path for recent high school graduates, adults seeking a career change, or those looking to gain a new skill. If you are interested in the full apprenticeship breakdown visit The Department of Labor’s, Apprenticeship Toolkit.

Apprenticeship opportunities are revolutionizing industries, as well as developing a more skilled workforce. These programs are addressing skill gaps and producing stronger workers. Companies with apprenticeship programs have seen as much as 94% retention rate, with a proven return on investment.

A Michigan-based organization, that aims to make apprenticeship work for companies and job-seekers, has developed an apprenticeship ROI calculator to show what is possible with this option. Note, these numbers are specific to Michigan, but it is anticipated that results would be similar for Indiana.

Indiana Certified State Earn and Learn program

The Indiana Certified State Earn and Learn program is a structured and scalable program. The Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship helps to support employers, industry associations, K-12 schools, Higher education partners, adult education, and training providers build programs to create a sustainable talent pipeline.

SEALs are created and programmed by the collective public-private partnerships and designed to allow individuals to gain skills while working and earning college credit. The program is aligned to the Indiana graduation pathways requirements, embeds stackable industry recognized credentials, articulates with college credits, and high school career and technical education credits.

A SEAL program can last anywhere from 8 weeks up to 2 years. An employer can design a SEAL program to upskill current employees, create a new pipeline to attract new employees, or build new talent from a high school program. For more information please see

Hamilton Heights High School Construction SEAL pathway

An example right here in Indiana, 80% of construction firms report difficulty finding craft skilled workers to fill the bulk of the construction industry hourly paid jobs. “With this, Hamilton Heights High School (HHHS) has implemented a construction pathway for students to earn and learn while in high school. In cooperation with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and The Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation, HHHS has created a State Earn and Learn (SEAL) for the construction industry. Students choose either a building trades (vertical construction) or a civil construction (horizontal) pathway and connect directly with employers beginning their sophomore year. This approach will allow employers to create meaningful experiences and connections with students and create a pipeline of young talent into their workforce. The HHSC Construction SEAL pathway will provide students with paid apprenticeships and allow them to enter the workforce into high-paying careers while addressing the labor shortages of the construction industry.” Find out more about this opportunity by visiting their Facebook page HHHS Architecture Engineering and Construction Trades.

ABC Prep Academy

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Indiana Apprenticeship Program established the Prep Academy in the Fall of 2013. The ABC Prep Academy’s vision is to see all high school students graduate as a prepared, diverse community of learners with access to a career in the skilled trades as a Craft Professional. ABC Prep Academy students will collaborate, think critically, and communicate effectively to be able to make connections between themselves, their learning, and the real world. Students will receive hands-on exposure in assorted crafts to experience them first hand in order to make an informed decision. Above all, ABC Prep Academy will empower students to take charge of their future and give them confidence in pursuing a career as a Craft Professional. Program completers can receive dual credits, industry recognized certifications, and complete one year of an ABC Apprenticeship program. For more information, please see

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Indiana Apprenticeship Program

Some 33 years ago, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Indiana Apprenticeship Program was established. The first crafts that were certified by the US. DOL were plumbing (state licensing) and carpentry. Over time since, the program has achieved certification from the USDOL in 24 different crafts to be able to deliver formal apprenticeship training. The mainstays of the program tend to be in the electrical and mechanical crafts. To stay on the cutting edge of curriculum updates, instructor certifications, testing integrity, and performance profiles, the ABC apprenticeship program was certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) in the late 1990’s as one of the first six ABC chapters from around the country to be so approved. This certification provides the basis for the ABC program to maintain a standardized competency based system with performance accountabilities. In addition, the Program has a formal partnership with Vincennes University for our apprentices to obtain an aligned associate’s degree embedded throughout the four-year craft curriculum. All of the above combined, the graduating apprentice from the ABC Indiana Apprenticeship Program will leave being the most highly credentialed journeyman craftsperson of any industry training program. ABC of Indiana/Kentucky is an association of commercial, institutional, and industrial contractors. For more information please see

Short-Term Credentialed Training Opportunities

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior1Care, a Hamilton County business, has expedited their community training program to address the shortage of workers in nursing homes. Senior1Care’s Legacy CNA Training school, began working with the Indiana Health Care Association & Indiana State Department of Health to help develop a condensed training course for temporary Personal Care Attendants or PCAs. PCA’s perform resident care procedures that are part of the training required to earn a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, certification. The state has added provisions that will allow the PCA training to be counted towards a CNA certification. The new designation for lower-level, non-clinical nursing home employees takes just eight hours to earn instead of the three weeks. The program is being offered for free online or in-person at Noblesville High School and is open to the public. Students can earn their PCA, CNA, or QMA certifications through Legacy CNA Training. Displaced workers or anyone interested can visit to find out more information and register.

Connect with HCWIN

If you think an apprenticeship or a short-term credential training program might be the right path for you, please reach out to Hamilton County Workforce Innovation Network (HCWIN) and we will work with you to find the best fit.



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