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What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is an "earn while you learn" training model that includes paid on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced journeyworkers with related classroom instruction to prepare individuals for skilled occupations.

How does it work?

Apprentices work as they complete their classes; their work schedule will be determined by their respective employers. When they graduate, apprentices will receive a nationally recognized Certificate of Completion and will have earned the highly skilled “journeyworker” designation. The program can last one to five years, depending on the occupation. Employers work with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) State Apprenticeship Office to create program standards in addition to a written agreement that specifies the length of a participant’s training, the related technical instruction, an outline of the skills that person will need to learn, and the wages he or she will earn. NMDWS must approve this agreement before apprentices can start their training.


Why Start an Apprenticeship Program?

Apprenticeship puts your company's need for a skilled workforce in your hands. Apprentice training is a perfect blend of training coupled with work and productivity. Train the kind of employees you want working for you with on-the-job training and classroom instruction, this combination puts employees' skills and knowledge into practice immediately. Other benefits you can expect are:

  • Highly Skilled Workforce. On-the-job training along with job-related educational instruction gives employees a full understanding of their job. Employees clearly see the impact their actions have on such important measures as productivity, quality, safety, and customer service.
  • Standardized Training. Employers have an opportunity to build a structured, consistent training program that ensures reliable workforce performance that meets both organizational and industry standards.
  • Reduce Turnover. Employees brought up in your company are more likely to stay with you.
  • Increase Productivity. As apprenticeship participants hone their skills they have a deeper understanding of their jobs and use this knowledge to best meet the business needs of your organization, this boosts higher quality levels and productivity.
  • Earn a Return on Your Investment. Registered apprenticeship ensures a system structured to successfully facilitate the transfer of knowledge from experienced employees to new recruits. With a highly skilled workforce, your production increases making your company more competitive and in return means more profit.

How to Get Started

The first step in starting an apprenticeship program is to contact the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions State Apprenticeship Office. Next, is the development of the apprenticeship program. State Apprenticeship Office staff will work with you every step of the way as you develop the program and will provide technical assistance and guidance throughout the process. Finally, your program must be formally approved by the State Apprenticeship Office to train apprentices.   


In apprenticeship, you earn a paycheck from day one with guaranteed raises as your skill level increases. You will learn your trade through 90% hands-on learning, coupled with 10% classroom instruction. Apprenticeship helps you to realize your career goals by providing a great salary and long-term career opportunities.

  • Apprenticeship is post-secondary education like college or university but the big difference is while you are learning a high skilled trade, you are also earning a good wage.
  • Depending on the trade, an apprenticeship can take one to five years to complete.
  • Apprentices earn a national recognized completion certificate upon successful completion of the training.  

Who Can Be an Apprentice?

Most apprenticeship programs require that you be 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED. There may be additional requirements for specific program sponsors.

Steps to Becoming an Apprentice

  • Determine the trade/occupation you are interested in
  • Contact the program sponsor to inquire about minimum requirements for the program
  • Complete the program sponsor application process
  • Go through the interview and selection process
  • If selected, sign an apprenticeship agreement and registration form acknowledging the terms and conditions  of the program

The GI Bill for Apprenticeship

Advance your employment prospects by learning a trade or skill through participation in VA on-the-job training or apprenticeships. These programs typically involve entering into a training contract for a specific period of time with an employer or union. At the end of the training period, a job certification is issued or journeyman status achieved. Most Veterans receive a salary from the employer or union during training. As your skills increase, so may your salary. GI Bill payments are issued monthly after VA receives certification of hours worked from your employer or union.

This training is not available to active duty Servicemembers or spouses using a transferred benefit. Get the fact sheet about on-the-job and apprenticeship training.

Become an Apprentice

Public Works and Apprenticeship Application

The Public Works and Apprenticeship Application (PWAA) is the new online database exchange between the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and apprenticeship programs, contractors, and contracting agencies. The PWAA is an interactive tool providing many self-service activities including: registering apprentices; issuing apprentice certifications; entering wage decision requests; completing public works paperwork; making apprenticeship contributions; and contractor registration/ renewals.

Program sponsors will need to create an administrator account and then will be able to create various roles and accounts for any individuals who are authorized to conduct business on behalf of the program sponsor.  

If you have any questions about account creation, system features, or changes in processes, you are encouraged to contact the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions State Apprenticeship Office, at (505) 841-8565 or via email at apprenticeship.info@state.nm.us.

Online System

Manufacturing in New Mexico

Manufacturers in New Mexico
The Future of Manufacturing in New Mexico

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