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Apprenticeship (state and federal)

What is apprenticeship?

A person enrolled in a formal training program that combines on-the-job training with related technical instruction. The program is designed to produce workers that are fully competent in all aspects of an occupation.

How do I create an apprentice program?

Both state and federal apprenticeship laws allow employers to design their own program that provides an individual with specific skills, training, and job related instruction that are tailored to the company’s needs.

In order for an apprenticeship program to be recognized and considered "bona fide":

  • The program must be approved by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry or the United States Department of Labor;
  • there must be a written contract between the apprentice and the sponsor approved by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry or the United States Department of Labor;
  • the apprentice must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry or the United States Department of Labor; the contract must clearly define the length of training, which includes the number of hours, an outline of the skills to be learned and the compensation that the apprentice will receive.

What are the apprenticeship requirements?

If a contractor’s apprenticeship program is "bona fide", an apprentice is not subject to the state and/or federal wage decisions incorporated into a contract, provided the contractor can demonstrate the following:

  • The apprentice is performing the work of his/her trade;
  • the apprentice is registered with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry or the United States Department of Labor;
  • the apprentice is compensated according to the rate specified in the program for the level of progress;
  • The ratio of apprentices to journeyman workers on the project is not greater than the ratio permitted for the contractor's entire work force under the registered program.

If a contractor fails to comply with the terms of the apprentice requirements mentioned above or fails to provide proof of a "bona fide" program, the contractor shall compensate the laborer or mechanic not less than the applicable total prevailing wage rate for the actual work performed and for all hours worked.

What are the apprenticeship ratio requirements?

Ratio of journeymen to apprentices
Journeyman Apprentices
1 1
4 2
7 3
10 4

In the absence of a defined ratio, which means the number of apprentices to journeymen, the Minnesota Apprenticeship Advisory Council allows one apprentice for the first journeyman and one additional apprentice for each additional three journeymen; therefore, the ratio on projects funded in whole or in part with state and/or federal funds would be as follows:

To verify whether or not a worker is a registered apprentice, contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry's Apprenticeship Division at 651-284-5191. To find out more about apprenticeship programs, visit Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry's Apprenticeship. Visit the Resources page for more information.

Trainee requirements (federal-aid contracts only)

For federal-aid contracts only, a trainee program is also available.