How to Start a Program

Illinois provides regional Navigators to help employers and other organizations get started in creating apprenticeship programs or other work-based learning solutions.

The Navigator will work with you, free of charge, on the following:

  • Understand the registered apprenticeship training model, as well as other work-based learning solutions
  • Identify existing models and frameworks for your occupations of interest
  • Connect you with the appropriate resources to assist with your program, which may include funding
  • Connect you with intermediaries or the USDOL for full recognition in the National Registered Apprenticeship System
  • Assist you as your workforce needs evolve

Click here to find a Navigator in your region.

Your Navigator will help you through the process of planning and starting your own program.

Apprenticeship Program: Quick-start Action Planner

Step What do I need to get started?
1 Determine your workforce needs for skilled talent
  • Do you have challenges in finding skilled workers?
  • What particular occupations or positions?
  • What are your long-term workforce needs?
2 Identify partners and resources you need (Don't go it alone!)
  • Do you want to partner with local workforce agencies or training providers?
  • Do you want/need to partner with local educational providers?
  • Are there community based organizations (CBOs), economic development, or other critical partners that could help make this more successful?
  • Are there existing programs offered by intermediaries such as the local workforce area, community college, industry association, etc. in your area?
  • If you want a Registered Apprenticeship program, work with your local DOL representative to help in design and registration.
3 Determine your classroom training model
  • Will you provide classroom instruction in-house or do you want a partner to provide it?
  • Is it important to you to align the instruction piece with other industry credentials?
  • Will you pay for the classroom training or do you need to identify other options?
4 Design and develop your program
  • How will you select individuals for your program?
  • Do you want the program to serve new entrnts or incumbent (current) workers?
  • How long does it take for someone to be fully proficient in their job?
  • What skills, competencies, and abilities must they learn and know?
  • How will you know they are ready? Based on time, based on competency, or a mixture of both?
  • How will you compensate individuals as their skills and competencies increase?
  • If desired, work with DOL to register your program and receive recognition for meeting the requirements for national registration.
5 Marketing and Implementation
  • Conduct marketing and outreach for your program.
  • Recruit and select participants, rewarding prior experience as appropriate.
  • Identify mentors and/or levels of supervision to ensure quality coaching and safety on-the-job.
  • Implement and begin training — both classroom and on-the-job as designed.
6 Marketing and Implementation
  • Assess the program and participants' success moving forward.
  • Continuously improve the quality of your program over time.