Blog right triangle Flexibility in Apprenticeship Timelines to Create Employer Options
Los empleadores | Events | Future of Work | Gen Z | Alumnos | Upskilling | Workforce Development |

Flexibility in Apprenticeship Timelines to Create Employer Options

By Mary Knight | Communications Specialist, CareerWise USA

As many workforce development professionals know, no two apprenticeship experiences are the same, and every employer offers a unique apprenticeship program. That’s the case even when working within an established system like the USDOL’s Registered Apprenticeship. However, the end goal is always the sameto train market-ready talent that is prepared to step into a full-time role.

For this spring’s hiring cycle, new and existing employer partners can select either a two-year or three-year model for their next cohort of youth apprentices.

At its core, the Careerwise Colorado youth apprenticeship is a competency-based model with a timeline that is set to the pace at which students achieve proficiency in the required skills for their specific occupation. While there is an estimated schedule of when an apprentice will become proficient, it can vary from person to person.

Knowing this, CareerWise Colorado began working to determine how it could evolve its established three-year model to offer more flexibility for employers and apprentices that might need varied approaches to achieving a successful apprenticeship experience.

As a result, this spring, CareerWise Colorado is launching a two-year youth apprenticeship model for its employer partners.

Like the three-year model, the two-year program will include the same number of on-the-job training hours, related instruction, training and credentials for apprenticesthe only difference is a more compressed train-to-hire timeline. In the two-year model, students begin their youth apprenticeship during their senior year of high school, instead of their junior year as in the three-year program.

“We’re responding to what the market is telling us by creating frameworks for different training timelines,”  said Meaghan Sullivan, CareerWise Colorado’s chief program officer. “By offering two- and three-year models, we’re allowing employers to design the experience in a way that meets their needs.”


Both the two- and three-year models ultimately deliver the same benefits to employers, with a two-year model providing for full benefit of the talent pipeline sooner, and a three-year model that offers a longer training runway and an additional year of CareerWise support for those companies that prefer more time to train.

Many apprentices or employers programs do not necessarily need three years to complete the training and reach proficiency.  But many companies have training systems that take advantage of a more gentle learning curve and value the additional year of program guidance, technical assistance and support that CareerWise provides as an intermediary. 

“A number of our employer partners have moved apprentices through their training more quickly than expected and ultimately hired apprentices into full time roles after just two years,” said Sullivan. “Which is a great win and a great successand we want to offer a product model that works for every company’s pace of training.”


For many students, the junior year of high school is rigorous and arguably one of the most challenging academically. This year is filled with advanced placement (AP) and other post-secondary courses, as well as college placement exams and standardized tests such the ACT or SAT. By starting a youth apprenticeship during a student’s senior year, it allows them more time and capacity to focus on the apprenticeship and learn as much as they can.

Students often have a clearer idea of what their post-secondary pursuits may look like closer to high school graduation as well. Illuminating what apprenticeship may be best suited for them, ultimately having a more successful experience. But it’s not just students who may benefit from a later start in an apprenticeshipemployers that elect to train on a two-year timeline are accessing a more mature applicant pool of talent of rising seniors.

With the later start and compressed timeline that the two-year program offers, it addresses both academic rigor of the junior year and the clearer post-secondary vision students have as they approach graduation. 

Additionally, the two-year program bridges the gap between a student’s senior year and their first year after high school, bringing stability and certainty to their day-to-day routine following the first year of post-secondary education.

“The transition following high school graduation can be tough for many students, but having the purpose and mentorship a youth apprenticeship provides can ensure they stay on track and find a fulfilling career path,” said Sullivan. “More and more students are entering their senior years not certain about college or where they might fit in the workforce. Apprenticeship provides those students a solid post-secondary plan.”

As CareerWise continues to evolve youth apprenticeship, it will always be guided by its “industry-led and student-centered” mantra. Apprenticeship is anchored to the outcomes for both of those stakeholders: when an apprentice completes a registered apprenticeship they are market ready in the job that they’ve trained for and have the skills that employers require to grow and innovate their business. But, as Sullivan notes, “we recognize that they’re different ways to get there and will continue to build a system that gets us there as efficiently as possible.”

For more information on the CareerWise Colorado youth apprenticeship programs, visit our website.