The Federal government is an often overlooked source of apprenticeship programs. But now that it has made a strong commitment to hiring workers who are formerly incarcerated, it might be worth looking into one of the Federal apprenticeship programs.
And there are plenty of opportunities. The Federal government has more than 40 registered apprenticeship programs with nearly 120,000 apprenticeships in skilled trades, health care, transportation and other fields. It effectively uses apprenticeships to recruit high-quality job applicants, train employees so they can carry out the agencies’ work and grow a highly skilled workforce. In some cases, apprentices must already be employed by a federal agency.
Types of apprenticeships
The Federal government divides its apprenticeships into three broad categories;
United States Military apprenticeship Program – The nation’s largest registered apprenticeship program, the USMAP includes all branches of the military – U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Service members can enter apprenticeships in occupations that include electrician, machinist, environmental analyst and graphic designer. Dept. of Defense military training schools provide the classroom instruction necessary for the programs.
U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons apprenticeships – The Bureau of Prisons operates the Occupational Education Program of trade apprenticeships, which includes an extensive variety of trades. In 2015, the BOP worked with the U.S. Dept. of Labor Office of Apprenticeships to create an apprenticeship standard for all facilities. As a result, inmates can complete a program with limited interruptions if they’re transferred. Classroom training may be offered by either civil-service vocational training instructors or teachers from local colleges and technical schools.
Apprenticeships within Federal agencies – Apprenticeships operate within a wide variety of Federal agencies. Here are some examples of the agencies and the types of apprenticeships they offer.
- Smithsonian Institute – various building trades.
- U.S. Dept. of Agriculture/National Forest Service – firefighters.
- U.S. Dept. of Energy – machine tool setters and operators.
- U.S. Dept. of Labor – a variety of apprenticeships around the U.S. that include the fields of nursing assistants, cooks, automotive service technicians and mechanics, mining and geological engineers, telecommunications line installers and repairers and psychiatric aids.
- U.S. Dept. of the Treasury – various building trades, printing press operators, prepress technicians, tool and die makers, and machine tool setters and operators.
- U.S. Dept. of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration – transportation specialist.
How to find out more about Federal apprenticeship programs
If you’d like to learn more about a Federal apprenticeship program, you can contact apprenticeship.gov. Or you can search the apprenticeship.gov’s apprenticeship job finder. You may also call or visit your local American Job Center, and a counselor should be able to help you find out more information on Federal apprenticeships.