Investments + Partnerships = Apprenticeship Opportunities for Young Adults

By: Brent Parton

March 5, 2024

A group of four people, two men and two women wearing professional business attire, standing together and smiling for a picture in front of a blue curtain and the American flag. Young people need sustainable career pathways with supportive services and training to meet employers’ needs and prepare them to excel across in-demand industries. Registered Apprenticeship and the public workforce system can open opportunities for young people.

To reinforce the belief that our young people have the talent needed to help industries innovate and succeed, we launched the Youth Employment Works strategy to set a clear vision to create critical links between the public workforce system and its public and private sector partners to promote high-quality career pathways. Our goal is to deliver a “no wrong door” youth workforce system that offers seamless access to supportive services and workforce development opportunities for young people; Registered Apprenticeships are a key part of that system.

To help drive this effort, our Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is launching the first ever Federal Youth Apprentice Pathway. Through this pilot, we will help model ways federal agencies can partner with Registered Apprenticeship Intermediaries to create high-quality career pathways to good federal jobs and the apprentices will gain valuable career training and experience working in our Offices of Apprenticeship, Workforce Investment and Job Corps. The program will include a 3-year career progression, and upon completion, successful apprentices will have the opportunity to enter into a permanent federal position.

Our focus on developing a next generation of workers through high quality Registered Apprenticeship programs has been underway for several years. For example:

We invested over $7 million on a Youth Apprenticeship Intermediaries initiative to help public and private partners launch in- and out-of-school Registered Apprenticeship programs to rapidly accelerate the “earn and learn” model across multiple industries and sectors. Over the last five years, over 5,700 youth have entered a program and over 175 new youth-focused local programs have been established.
In the last four years, we awarded Youth Apprenticeship Readiness Grants to 14 education and workforce organizations to increase young people’s participation in Registered Apprenticeship programs across the U.S. To date, nearly 8,500 young workers have been served, with over 4,100 entering a program, and over 1,900 receiving degrees or other credentials.
In 2023, the Urban Institute conducted an evaluation of the Youth Apprenticeship Readiness Grants, specifically identifying models of youth registered apprenticeship expansion. The evaluation developed a typology of five different models of expansion used by the Youth Apprenticeship Readiness Grant grantees. Access the full report here: Models of Youth Registered Apprenticeship Expansion (
We’ve invested $171 million to fund 39 grantees under the Apprenticeship Building America Grants. The grants aim to strengthen and modernize Registered Apprenticeship programs and enable workers, particularly young workers, to find a reliable pathway to the middle class.
In 2023, we established the Apprentice Trailblazer Initiative to create a national network of diverse apprentices and apprenticeship graduates of all ages and backgrounds. The Trailblazer initiative also gives apprentices a platform to share their experiences and raise awareness among other career seekers who may be interested in becoming apprentices.
Looking ahead, we will celebrate the inaugural Youth Apprenticeship Week in May 2024 – a nationwide celebration that will highlight the value of apprenticeship for young people ages 16-24. Youth Apprenticeship Week is an opportunity for stakeholders and others to host events nationwide to bring awareness to these life-changing career opportunities for youth. We encourage employers, educators, youth, parents, state agencies, federal partners and others to visit the website to learn more about how to get involved.

While the U.S. is making great strides in promoting youth Registered Apprenticeship opportunities, our work continues. Our goal is to continue to ensure a more equitable and diverse workforce. Through the combined impacts of each of the department’s initiatives and programs described above, the country is unlocking the potential of its young people and creating a sustainable pipeline of skilled and diverse talent for the jobs of the future. For additional information on any of these programs, please visit

Brent Parton is the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration.

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