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November 4, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Hiring Issues >
Apprenticeship Programs

Hiring Issues:

Apprenticeship Programs


Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by joint employer and labor groups, individual employers, and/or employer associations.

The Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services (OATELS) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) registers apprenticeship programs and apprentices in all 50 states. OATELS also assists and oversees State Apprenticeship Councils (SACs), which also perform these functions in 27 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. OATELSs role is to safeguard the welfare of apprentices; ensure the quality and equality of access to apprenticeship programs; and provide integrated employment and training information to sponsors and the local employment and training community. Employers or groups of employers and unions design, organize, manage, and finance registered apprenticeship programs under a set of apprenticeship standards which are then registered with the OATELS or an OATEL-recognized SAC. Registered apprenticeship program sponsors identify the minimum qualifications to apply to their apprenticeship program. The eligible starting age can be no less than 16 years of age; however, individuals must usually be at least 18 to be an apprentice in hazardous occupations.





  • Employment and Training Administration (ETA)
    Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services (OATELS)

    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room N-5311
    Washington, DC 20210
    Tel: 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627), or 202-693-2796
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Fax: 202-693-2808 or 202-693-2761
    Local Offices

  • Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
    Wage and Hour Division
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room S-3502
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact WHD
    Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.

Phone Numbers