When most people think of apprenticeships, they think of the building trades, or other industries where employers and workers can mutually benefit from hands-on training through paid and credentialed programs. And though there are many apprenticeships in those fields, apprenticeships are also providing the same type of proven training and results for another major employer in the U.S. ‒ the armed services.
In fact, the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (known as USMAP) is the largest single apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, and dates back to the mid-1970s, when it was originally started by the Navy.
Real-world benefits for service members
USMAP is open to active-duty, guard and reserve service members from all branches of the armed services. In fiscal year 2020, USMAP had over 122,000 active apprentices, including over 29,000 women.
USMAP provides an opportunity for service members to participate in a time-based or competency-based apprenticeship program that results in a certificate of completion with a journeyman card from the Department of Labor. For those service members who do not complete the apprenticeship while on active duty, there is an opportunity to join a post-service apprenticeship (in the same occupation or trade) with advanced standing.
The USMAP capitalizes on the U.S. Department of Defense’s world-class training and education programs and provides real-world experience in virtually every industry sector. The opportunity for a service member to complete a Registered Apprenticeship both increases in-service readiness and opens up post-service employment opportunities by providing industry-recognized credentials.
An opportunity for employers
Programs like our Employer Navigator and Partnership Pilot and the Defense Department’s SkillBridge program are successfully connecting transitioning service members with training and job placement opportunities. USMAP also has tremendous potential for employers looking to hire. Yet despite the large number of service members enrolled in USMAP, many employers are unaware of the program and the talent it can provide to help fill many critical, in-demand civilian occupations.
That’s why during National Apprenticeship Week we’re excited to help spread the word about USMAP, and help employers better understand the value of the program and how to gain access to the talent and credentialed skills of our transitioning service members.
Sgt. Maj. Kristopher (Kris) Rick is an active duty Senior Military Fellow in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service with over 29 years of active duty service as a combat medic within operational medical units, including several combat tours. Kris serves on behalf of all Defense Department and Coast Guard service members and military spouses, bringing an invaluable perspective to our policies and programs. Follow VETS on Twitter at @VETS_DOL or visit us on LinkedIn.