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RALEIGH, N.C. – ApprenticeshipNC has been selected by the U.S. Department of Labor to evaluate a new type of work-based training program.
Earlier this year, the Labor Department published a rule allowing businesses and other groups to create Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, or IRAPS. The programs are high-quality apprenticeships recognized by a third-party entity under standards established by the Labor Department.
ApprenticeshipNC, which is part of the NC Community College System, is among the initial 18 Standards Recognition Entities selected by the Labor Department. As an SRE, ApprenticeshipNC will work with employers and other organizations in North Carolina to establish, recognize and monitor high-quality IRAPs that provide apprentices with industry-recognized credentials.
The goal of IRAPs is to expand the number of apprenticeships in the United States, particularly in industries where apprenticeships have been underutilized, according to the Labor Department.
IRAPs are alternatives to Registered Apprenticeship Programs. While both types of apprenticeships involve paid work-based learning, registered apprenticeships must be at least one year in length and include a minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction. IRAPs may be shorter than a year and do not have the same instructional requirement. To complete the program, IRAP apprentices must still achieve certain competencies in their field.
“IRAPs will complement the successful Registered Apprenticeship Programs that have been in place nationally and in North Carolina for over 80 years,” said Kathryn Castelloes, director of AppprenticeshipNC. “IRAPs will be another tool to expand the apprenticeship model into new industries and to help North Carolina businesses meet their diverse workforce needs.”
In addition to evaluating IRAPs, ApprenticeshipNC will continue to help businesses and other organizations develop Registered Apprenticeship Programs, Castelloes said.