Hybrid apprenticeship offers flexibility to manufacturers

June 5, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has approved the first hybrid apprenticeship model developed by Apprenticeship Works, the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI).

Traditional apprenticeship models are either time based or competency/performance based. The new CNC Operator/Programmer hybrid is a combination of the two, affording manufacturers more flexibility in establishing registered apprenticeships and the option to significantly reduce the time required to complete an apprenticeship program. The hybrid model was developed with input and feedback from industry experts and manufacturing groups before final approval by the DOL.

“Our DOL-approved hybrid model gives companies greater control over how they train CNC operators and programmers, allowing a customized approach that meets the needs of a particular manufacturer while still satisfying DOL requirements to ensure quality,” said Lucinda Curry, director of Apprentice Works. “We developed this hybrid model combining two machining occupations in response to industry requests for individual workers with greater knowledge of both CNC programming and operations.”

Apprenticeships are a proven earn-and-learn model used by manufacturers around the world to improve worker skills and boost productivity. With the support of an American Apprenticeship Initiative grant from the DOL, RCBI’s Apprenticeship Works partnership is establishing apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships across the country in 17 advanced manufacturing occupations.

To date, Apprenticeship Works has helped companies in West Virginia and seven other states establish registered apprenticeship programs. The goal is to expand apprenticeship opportunities in manufacturing by registering 1,000 individual apprentices and training 415 pre-apprentices nationwide by 2020.