DOL Approves National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards

The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration has approved national guidelines for apprenticeship standards for the occupation of direct support professional. These standards will enable employers to use ETA's Registered Apprenticeship program to train workers for careers in the long-term care sector of the health care industry.

"The direct support professional occupation represents an important segment of the health care workforce, providing assistance and support to persons with disabilities, the elderly and individuals with long-term illnesses," said Jane Oates, assistant secretary for ETA. "The establishment of these new guidelines creates a career pathway for health care workers that can be implemented throughout the country."

The standards were developed through ETA's Office of Apprenticeship at the request of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and the American Network of Community Options and Resources. NADSP and ANCOR are partnering with ETA on addressing the need for quality, competency-based instruction models to help establish career pathways for the direct support professional occupation. The Registered Apprenticeship program utilizes a competency-based model that allows apprentices to earn interim credentials based on the demonstration of specific skills.

Under the new standards, the Registered Apprenticeship program will provide direct support professional apprentices with on-the-job instruction to develop competencies in assisting people in need. The credentials and competencies to be achieved are based upon criteria for the NADSP national voluntary direct support credentialing program. Apprentices will have the opportunity to complete both the Registered Apprenticeship program and the NADSP credentialing program.

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