Employment and Jobs

Models of Upskilling: Apprenticeship

June 1, 2017  • UpSkill America & Jaime S. Fall

Apprenticeship programs blend classroom instruction with on-the-job learning so participants can earn income while receiving the training and education needed for a specific occupation. Over the course of the program, the skills and earnings of the apprentice grow until graduation and full employment in the chosen occupation. Though registered apprenticeship programs were historically associated primarily with skilled trades, they are now being implemented in a variety of fields, from health care and information technology (IT) to manufacturing and insurance. According to the US Department of Labor, in 2016 over 500,000 apprentices participated in one of the 21,000 Registered Apprenticeship programs across the country.[i] The following are a few examples.

Aon’s Apprenticeship in Professional Services

Aon’s apprenticeship program provides opportunities for young professionals to develop vital skills in the workplace and earn a competitive salary while they learn. Apprentices are offered permanent positions with competitive salaries and full support for professional study and qualifications. The apprenticeship program has helped Aon build an alternative talent pipeline and a highly skilled and diverse workforce. Aon hopes to encourage the business community to develop similar programs and help jumpstart the careers of many more deserving individuals.

The Hartford National Apprenticeship Program

The Hartford National Apprenticeship program is expanding to the insurance industry. Hartford designed its program to assist with its efforts to recruit skilled and capable entry-level talent, increase entry-level employee retention, decrease initial learning costs, and increase the diversity of its candidate pool.

There are apprenticeships in over 1,000 occupations.[ii] The US Department of Labor has developed a Registered Apprenticeship Toolkit to provide companies with helpful steps and resources to start and register an apprenticeship program.

Hilton Worldwide Apprenticeship Academy

The Hilton Apprenticeship Academy allows participants to learn the art of hospitality through hands-on exposure to a range of industry disciplines. Hilton apprentices must complete a six-week rotation through all hotel departments — including security, food and beverage, engineering, accounting, human resources, and front office. Once they complete the rotation, apprentices choose a specific department to focus on for an additional 16 weeks. Upon the conclusion of those 16 weeks, apprentices then must complete a final project that includes a presentation to Hilton’s executive committee.

Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship

In the fall of 2016, the US Department of Labor awarded the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the American Hotel & Lodging Association a $1.8 million contract to develop the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship – the first-ever apprenticeship program specifically for the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industries.[iii]

Kroger Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program

Kroger Manufacturing is expanding its registered apprenticeship program due to evidence it helps build a deep bench of skilled associates and assists with recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent. The program also allows Kroger Manufacturing to establish partnerships and relationships in local communities to help hire high-potential candidates, especially among the younger generation just entering the workforce.

Lowe’s “Track to the Trades”

Lowe’s partnered with adult-education company Guild Education to create Track to the Trades. The program connects employees with up to $2,500 in tuition assistance for online pre-apprenticeship training in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing or appliance repair. Like it does with its other partnerships, Guild Education will provide academic coaching and support to students. The coursework is self-paced, typically taking six to 10 months to complete. Lowe’s will then place participants in apprenticeships at local companies that participate in its national contractor network to complete their certification and kickstart their career in the trades.

McDonald’s Youth Opportunity initiative

In August 2018, McDonald’s launched Youth Opportunity, a new initiative with a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025 through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities, and workplace development programs. The company will grant $1 million to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future in support of a new apprenticeship program with City Colleges of Chicago. The pilot will enable 40 students to earn an associate degree in business while working toward a restaurant management role. The grant from McDonald’s will provide scholarships to pay for time spent in class by any student who is an employee of a McDonald’s franchisee. As part of this initiative, McDonald’s has also joined the Chicago Apprenticeship Network to continue best practice sharing with other companies that are committed to expanding professional advancement through apprenticeships. Click here to learn more.



Learn more
Employment and Jobs
Models of Upskilling
June 1, 2017 • UpSkill America & 1 more


Table of Contents
Employment and Jobs
UpSkilling Playbook for Employers
June 1, 2017 • UpSkill America & 1 more



[i] “Registered Apprenticeship National Results,” US Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship (2016).

[ii] “A Fact Sheet for Human Resource Officers and Training Specialists,” US Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship (2016).

[iii] “Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Project,” National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. https://chooserestaurants.org/apprenticeship