Apprenticeship is a method of training that emphasizes learning by doing. Apprentices are taught by experienced workers at the job site and practice their skills in real work assignments. In the U.S., the registered apprenticeship system offers a framework for developing and registering apprenticeship programs, of which, in Fiscal Year 2007, there were nearly 28,000, with over 465,000 active apprentices. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the U.S. Department of Labor oversees the registered apprenticeship system by issuing standards, monitoring state agencies, and promoting registered apprenticeship. Registered apprenticeship program sponsors are individual employers or groups of employers (sometimes in collaboration with unions) who play a critical role. Sponsors recruit, screen and hire apprentices; develop formal agreements with them identifying the length of the program, skills to be learned, the wages to be paid at different points in time, and the required classroom instruction; and work with state apprenticeship agencies (SAAs) to make sure that their registered apprenticeship programs meet state and Federal requirements. To better understand the perspective of sponsors, who are mainly employers, ETA commissioned a survey to learn more about what sponsors value, dislike, or would like to see changed about registered apprenticeship. The survey of sponsors was conducted in 2007 with a random stratified sample drawn from 90 percent of eligible sponsors nationally. Sponsors were asked about characteristics of their program and about their views on the value, benefits, and drawbacks of registered apprenticeship, its integration with the workforce investment systems, apprentice completion and reasons for non-completion, and suggestions for possible improvement. There were a total of 974 responses (for an estimated response rate of just over 70 percent).
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