Workforce Professionals


Apprenticeship Intermediaries
Apprenticeship intermediaries are vital to the development and management of apprenticeships. By working with businesses with similar workforce needs, the intermediaries aggregate the needs of those employers to design and develop an apprenticeship program meeting all requirements. They manage the program and perform the administrative responsibilities such as registering businesses and apprentices, tracking activities, and reporting results, as well as support the apprentices' progress. This eases the burden for businesses, particularly small companies that do not have the personnel to execute such tasks. Intermediaries keep programs running smoothly and are an integral part of this critical workforce development strategy. They are the link among employers, apprentices, the workforce system, organized labor, and/or education. Apprenticeship Intermediaries include Industry Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Community Based Organizations, Local Workforce Areas, Community Colleges, Technical Schools, or other entities that will strengthen Illinois' Apprenticeship infrastructure.

Sponsor and manage apprenticeship programs. Intermediaries manage the program and act as the apprenticeship sponsor, saving employers from the chore of obtaining individual approval from federal apprenticeship agency.

  • Intermediaries aggregate the needs of small and medium sized employers within industry sectors to ease the administrative burdens and helps those who do not have the personnel resources to register an apprenticeship.
  • Intermediaries collaborate with multiple employers in a region to create an economy of scale in developing apprenticeship programs.
  • Intermediaries help smaller employers in a regional industry sector aggregate their training needs and manage the negotiations with training providers to offer courses for related instruction on a schedule that accommodates production schedules.  
  • As the sponsor, they sign a Memorandum of Understanding with each employer outlining the roles and responsibilities, but the company does not have to sign a "government contract."

Conduct industry engagement and outreach. Intermediaries market the apprenticeship program to individual businesses.

  • The intermediary reduces the outreach and coordination work for training providers to provide work-related classes to smaller employers.
  • Intermediaries usually begin their outreach to companies with whom they have preexisting relationships. Some schedule "events" where they convey why and how the program provides a workforce solution, using a variety of marketing materials in their outreach.

Support apprentices' progress. Intermediaries support the apprentices.

  • Intermediaries conduct site visits to companies who have active apprentices.
  • Intermediaries often monitor apprentices' progress toward receiving their industry-recognized credential, coordinate between related training instructors and worksite supervisors, provide follow-up and supportive services, check attendance, and address challenges that surface.
  • The intermediary assumes responsibility for assuring that each apprentice completes the registration process, is assigned an on-the-job learning mentor by the employer, registers for and completes related technical instruction, and that supporting documentation of apprentice progress is provided to the relevant apprenticeship agency.  
  • Some Intermediaries connect employers to funding sources, which pay for related instruction and some on-the-job training.

Examples of Intermediaries. Industry Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Community Based Organizations, Local Workforce Areas, Educational institutions (including secondary, two- and four-year post-secondary institutions, and technical schools) or other entities.


Apprenticeship Navigators
Apprenticeship Navigators promote apprenticeships as an effective tool for developing a workforce and are an asset to getting an apprenticeship program started. Apprenticeship Navigators serve as a key point of contact and assist partners throughout the process, from concept to implementation. They support existing or foster new partnerships and develop an extensive network of stakeholders at all levels of the public and private sector within the region to identify opportunities for program expansion and promotion. Navigators implement a targeted approach to business engagement. The Navigators build capacity by developing and strengthening the knowledge, skills, abilities, processes, and resources that businesses, educational institutions, local workforce areas, and/or community partners need to create new or expand existing apprenticeship programs. The objective of the Apprenticeship Navigators is to expand employer and intermediary program sponsorship in existing and new occupational areas within the region.

Support existing or foster new partnerships. Navigators develop an extensive network of stakeholders at all levels of the public and private sector within the region to identify opportunities for program expansion and promotion.

  • Navigators build a regional network of partnerships.
  • The Navigators bring regional players together, such as CBOs, training providers, employers, as well as identify potential partnerships over various sectors.
  • Navigators act as a liaison between employers, area economic development organizations, educational providers, local workforce areas, etc.

Conduct industry engagement and outreach. Navigators market the apprenticeship model as a viable workforce solution to individual businesses, chambers of commerce, local workforce areas, industry associations, educational institutions, and more.

  • The Navigators work with businesses to understand their workforce "pain points" and determine how apprenticeship can be a sustainable solution to their workforce needs.
  • The Navigators schedule "events" where they convey why and how the program provides a workforce solution, using a variety of marketing materials in their outreach.
  • Navigators promote existing programs in the area and develop methods to include special populations.

Serve as a key point of contact. The Navigators are available for free consultation to businesses, high schools, local workforce areas, chambers of commerce, community colleges, and other potential apprenticeship partners.

  • Navigators assist apprenticeship partners throughout the process, from concept to implementation, providing samples of similar models that may be replicated, and connecting partners with the appropriate resources.
  • The Navigators facilitate regional coordination and partnership with apprenticeship stakeholders, including businesses, Illinois U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship, the training and service providers, and other education and state agency partners.
  • Navigators connect interested parties to the correct partner and the various apprenticeship components.

Additional Resources for Intermediaries and Navigators