Two young women wearing facemasks stand over a patient laying back in a dental chair.

Central High School (Jefferson County) student Miya Robinson, assists with a patient at the Mortenson Dental Partners Highlands location. Mortenson is part of the Registered Apprenticeship program, which combines on-the-job training and classroom instruction under the supervision of an experienced industry professional. Submitted photo. 

Positioned to provide more opportunities for high school students across the commonwealth, Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) Office of Career and Technical Education on its selection as one of the first national Apprenticeship Ambassadors. The new program aims to promote, expand and diversify the workforce and fill critical skilled-worker gaps through Registered Apprenticeship programs (RAPs).  

“This designation recognizes Kentucky as a national leader in Registered Apprenticeships and opens more doors for our young people to train while in high school for a career that can provide them with a prosperous livelihood,” said Beshear. “We are proud of the Office of Career and Technical Education for being the first in Kentucky and one of only 207 officials and organizations to be chosen in the inaugural group of Apprenticeship Ambassadors by the U.S. Department of Labor. We are using our experience and expertise to promote and expand this valuable workforce strategy across all industries.”

According to the Office of Employer and Apprenticeship Services (OEAS) in the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet, there are currently 623 Registered Apprenticeship programs in the state with 4,144 apprentices in diverse industries such as health care, cybersecurity, skilled trades, advanced manufacturing and hospitality.

“Registered Apprenticeship is a systematic approach to training that ensures employees are trained and certified to produce at the highest skill levels required for an occupation. The Office of Employer and Apprenticeship Services is honored to continue to work with the Apprenticeship Ambassadors in KDE’s Office of Career and Technical Education in educating employers that related technical instruction plus on-the-job training with a wage progression results in a skilled and certified workforce,” said Michelle DeJohn, executive director of OEAS.

“The Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education is honored to be selected as a USDOL Apprenticeship Ambassador. We have significantly invested in Registered Apprenticeship for 10 years through our Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in KY (TRACK) youth apprenticeship program and believe that it is a valuable tool in preparing students for the workforce. We have seen firsthand how apprenticeship has changed the trajectory of a young adult’s career and enhanced the employer’s ability to hire skilled talent,” said Mary Taylor, Industry Training and Development specialist with the Kentucky Office of Career and Technical Education.

The TRACK youth apprenticeship and youth pre-apprenticeship programs create accelerated opportunities for RAPs for high school students enrolled in career and technical education pathways. The business- and industry-driven program is designed to develop a pipeline for students to enter post-secondary apprenticeship training that leads to a recognized credential at little or no cost.

Apprenticeship Ambassadors are approved for two years and commit to expanding, diversifying and modernizing Registered Apprenticeships to support the success of workers, employers and communities. As an ambassador, TRACK will promote its program to youth and employers through meetings, outreach and recruitment activities.

Registered Apprenticeship Program Information

RAPs are an industry-driven training model validated by DOL that allows employers to train workers to meet their unique needs. A RAP is a talent development strategy; apprentices participate in structured on-the-job training and related technical instruction, receive mentorship from experienced workers, and attain a national industry-recognized portable credential. The White House, through DOL funding, is committed to expanding RAPs in critical industry sectors like supply chain automation that have not traditionally used RAPs to meet employer and sector needs.

Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative

The USDOL designed the Apprenticeship Ambassador initiative to create a national network of employers, labor organizations, industry associations, program sponsors, educators, workforce intermediaries, minority-serving organizations, community-based organizations and other stakeholders to serve as champions for expanding and diversifying Registered Apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Ambassadors partner with DOL to:

  • Promote and expand awareness of the benefits of Registered Apprenticeship in the U.S. for industry, employers, career seekers, educators, and communities as a whole;
  • Identify and scale innovative practices and partnerships to modernize, strengthen, and accelerate the adoption of Registered Apprenticeship;
  • Increase access and support for underrepresented and underserved populations in Registered Apprenticeship including women, youth, people of color, rural communities, justice-involved individuals, and people with disabilities; and
  • Communicate the business case for Registered Apprenticeship as a mainstream workforce strategy for high-demand industries and creating opportunities for good jobs for all Americans across the economy.