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ASSOCIATED BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS

Become an Apprentice Sponsor

Trainers, also known as state-approved sponsors, facilitate apprenticeships by providing apprentices with employment. ABC of Wisconsin welcomes new trainers who want to get started in the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program. Every apprentice needs an approved trainer.

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Trainer Requirements & General Information

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Below are application requirements that must be met in order to become an apprenticeship trainer, as well as general information and commonly asked questions regarding training. Please direct any additional questions to apprenticeship@abcwi.org.

  • Completed employer application
  • One-time, non-refundable $350.00 Employer Application Fee required with submission of application form. Note: This fee is waived for ABC Members
  • Letter on company letterhead stating that your company has a written Safety and Hazcom plan in place
  • Proof of being in business for at least one year

Frequently Asked Questions

What is required for contractors to become a state-approved trainer/sponsor?

ABC of WI requires that every sponsoring employer comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, as well as apprenticeship and licensing requirements.

The recruitment, selection, employment, and training of apprentices during the apprenticeship shall be without discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, cred, handicap, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, arrest record, conviction record, or membership in the military forces of the United States, or this state.

The sponsor will take affirmative action to provide equal employment opportunity in apprenticeship and will operate the apprenticeship program and required under title 290 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 30 and the Equal Opportunity Regulations of the State of Wisconsin.

Trainers must:

  1. Be financially reliable and have at least one year in business as an employer in the trade for they wish to train. Roofing contractors must be in business at least two years.
  2. Be able to furnish the equivalent diversified training and work experiences required of the apprenticeship, to result in normal advancement for the apprentice.
  3. Work at the trade full time or employ full-time skilled workers, to ensure safe and quality training always.
  4. Hold credentials for the trade(s) in which they train apprentices as required by state and local laws.
  5. Be available to meet with the apprenticeship committee at designated intervals to keep it informed as to the apprentice’s progress, conduct, schooling, etc. You may also be required to provide information in writing.
  6. Have formal written Safety and Hazardous Communication (HazCom) programs as required by OSHA. The employer is responsible to train apprentices in accordance with OSHA standards as described in Public Law 91-596 dated December 29, 1970.
  7. Allow apprentices to attend all paid related instruction. Work is not an excuse for missing class.
  8. Pay the apprentice at least the minimum progressive skilled wage rate set by the DWD Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. (LINK TO SKILLED WAGE RATES or SKIP TO QUESTION ON WAGE RATES BELOW)
  9. Pay the apprentice while attending school at the same rate for working on the job.
  10. For those trades that require licenses, trainers must ensure apprentices have valid licenses at all times.
What kind of supervision is required for apprentices?

Apprentices must be trained under the supervision of a skilled trade person employed by the sponsoring employer in the respective trade. Apprentices require on-the-job supervision to ensure thorough, safe training and continuity of employment by the sponsoring employer.

Can apprentices supervise other apprentices?

No. Apprentices are not allowed to supervise other apprentices.

What is the paid-related instruction component of an apprenticeship?

All apprentices attend paid-related instruction as part of his/her training. Apprentices are required by state law to be paid by the sponsoring employer to attend class on a per-hour basis.

Are apprentices always required to be paid?

Apprentices are required to be paid during paid-related instruction but not during unpaid-related instruction.

What is the difference between paid-related instruction and unpaid-related instruction?

Paid-related instruction is the regular apprenticeship classes apprentices attend, either in the traditional classes or the block classes.

All apprentices attend unpaid-related instruction as part of his/her training, including in-person First Aid, CPR and an OSHA 10-Hour classes during the first 12 months of the program and a Transition-to-Trainer class in the final year of the apprenticeship. Some trades require the apprentice to also complete additional unpaid related instruction courses relevant to the trade.

What is the difference between traditional classes and block classes?

Traditional Classes:

  • Most apprentices have paid-related instruction one day, every two weeks, for 8 hours each class. Some paid-related instruction is held one night per week, for 4 hours each class. These classes are held from August to May.
  • The apprentice application deadline for these classes, which start in the fall semester (Aug/Sept), is July 15.

Block Classes:

  • Apprentices attend school in non-consecutive week-long blocks during the winter months. Class is held for approximately 4 weeks each year. This schedule allows apprentices from around the state to attend.

The apprentice application deadline for these classes is November 15.

Are there different types of instruction for apprentices?

Yes, depending on the trade.

How is tuition handled?

Tuition is the responsibility of the apprentice, although many employers reimburse apprentices for at least a portion of it. ABC of Wisconsin is not involved in any agreements between employers and apprentices regarding tuition.

What is the Skilled Wage Rate?

This is the wage that is used as the basis for determining what an apprentice is paid at any time during the apprenticeship. The Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) sets the skilled wage rate. The rate is divided into seven regions for Wisconsin, which is based on the average pay scale of skilled workers in each region. The BAS adjusts the skilled wage rate annually. A wage rate adjustment does not necessarily mean the rate will increase. The apprentice is paid a percentage, based on progress in the program. See Skilled Wage Rates

How much does the employer have to pay the apprentice?

An employer is required to pay an apprentice a minimum percentage of the skilled wage rate (see question above).  The percentage is based on an apprentice’s anniversary date, cumulative on-the-job training hours, and satisfactory progress on-the-job and in paid-related and unpaid-related instruction hours per year as outlined in the contract.

Can the skilled wage rate be adjusted for benefits?

No, the percentage of the skilled wage rate that an apprentice is paid cannot be adjusted. This is the base rate per hour that he/she must be paid.

If apprentices are working in other regions, what should the paid wage rate be?

When apprentices work outside their normal geographic area where there is a higher skilled wage rate, the employer must use the higher skilled wage rate for determining apprentice wages while working in the higher rate areas. If the rate for the region is lower than the region he/she was contracted in, then that higher “home” rate must be used, not the rate in the region with the lower rate.

When does an apprentice’s yearly wage raise take affect?

When an apprentice reaches his/her contract date anniversary AND successfully completes the number of combined work/paid/unpaid related instruction hours as indicated on his/her Trade Information (contract), he/she must be raised to the next percentage level of the skilled wage rate. Employers can contact an ABC of Wisconsin Education Coordinator at any time to verify if an apprentice Is eligible for the increase in pay for the respective region.

What safety steps must be met by trainers/sponsors?

Before becoming an approved apprenticeship training sponsor, a contractor must submit a letter verifying that the company has a written Safety and Hazard Communication (HazCom) program in place. A written safety plan organizes activities and efforts to control accidents and addresses the safety concerns particular to a specific trade. The HazCom Standard from the OSHA office of the U.S. Department of Labor requires contractors to identify and label hazardous substances and train their employees about the hazardous chemicals they are exposed to and the methods necessary to protect themselves. Before becoming approved to train apprentices, contractors must submit a letter verifying that the company has a written Safety Plan and a written HazCom program in place. ABC of Wisconsin assists member contractors with this necessity.

How does a contractor get started with the application process?

There is an online application to get the process started.

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