Apprenticeships Can Serve as a Pathway to Employment Success
By Dan Griffiths
For transitioning service members or veterans looking for a new career opportunity, apprenticeship is a unique and rewarding pathway to developing in-demand workplace and technical skills while earning a paycheck from day one on the job. On average, the starting salary for an apprentice after completion of an apprenticeship program is $72K. Additionally, 92% of apprentices retain employment after program completion proving that apprenticeships are highly beneficial to both employers and workers. 
Of the 600,000+ active apprentices across the nation, more than 33,000 veteran apprentices were in the national system in 2021, with over 15,000 completing their programs in that single year. These industry-driven, high-quality apprenticeships allow employers to prepare their future workforce, while simultaneously veterans develop the necessary skills to obtain:
- Income – Apprentices are paid employees who produce high-quality work while learning skills that address their employers' needs.
- On-the-Job Learning – Apprentices acquire job-related skills through structured learning in a work setting.
- Classroom Learning – Apprentices can improve job-related skills through education in a classroom setting (virtual or in-person).
- Mentorship – Apprentices receive guidance from experienced workers to enhance critical, hands-on learning.
- Credentials – Apprentices secure portable, nationally-recognized credentials that are issued after completion of the program.
The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP)
- The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is administered by the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) under the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA). For employers of all sizes, RAP offers several incentives:
- Technical Assistance – access to a nationwide network of expertise, customer service, and support at no charge.
- Quality Standards – signifies a program meets the national standards for quality and rigor.
- Tax Credits – in many states, businesses can qualify for tax credits.
- Federal Resources – access funding and other resources from federal programs (see the Federal Resources Playbook).
- Recruiting Incentives – veterans who qualify for GI Bill benefits can receive a monthly stipend in addition to the wages they receive.
Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill During an Apprenticeship
Eligible veterans pursuing training through an apprenticeship program approved by a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) State Approving Agency for education benefits can receive their GI Bill monthly housing allowance (MHA) in addition to their apprenticeship wages. Additionally, Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients are eligible to receive up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies. Veterans already participating in an apprenticeship program at the time of application may be eligible to receive up to 12 months of a retroactive MHA and supplies stipend. 
Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Benefits
Veterans with a service-connected disability may also be eligible for custom apprenticeship programs approved by a Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) counselor.
- Any employer may host a program where a VR&E counselor prepares a specific training plan to ensure that participants are working towards the full skills of an occupation.
- Veterans will be paid apprenticeship wages by the employer and can receive a monthly subsistence allowance.
- VR&E benefits commonly last from 6 months to 24 months.
Registered Apprenticeship Guidance Webpages
Apprenticeship.gov is the one-stop source to connect career seekers, employers, and education partners with apprenticeship resources. Discover apprenticeships across industries, how programs are started by employers, and how to assist a veteran to become an apprentice. Be sure to check out the Service Members and Veterans page on this site, which provides more specific veteran-facing support and information about the RAP (i.e., applying GI Bill benefits to VA-approved apprenticeship programs as mentioned earlier in this article).