By Paola Andujar and Mary Wurtz

The Council of State Governments Public Sector Apprenticeship Toolkit is a newly published resource serving as a comprehensive guide for state and local government leaders and human resources professionals to effectively develop, launch and sustain registered apprenticeship programs to fill talent shortages. The toolkit features information on the components of RAPs; how to join or develop RAPs in government; funding public sector RAPs; and how to hire, advance and evaluate apprentices.

Registered apprenticeship programs, or RAPs, are high-quality career pathways that are industry-vetted and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. They can also enable state and local governments to develop and prepare their future workforce through a combination of on-the-job training, classroom instruction and mentoring.

“Like most sectors of our economy, state governments face workforce challenges. While state employment can provide many opportunities for growth and career success, state leaders must create pathways for people to pursue public service,” said David Adkins, CSG executive director/CEO. “Apprenticeships are a proven and promising strategy to position state government as an employer of choice in a competitive market for talent. This report showcases the many ways states are innovating to create the workforce they need and that their citizens deserve.”

In 2022, CSG partnered with Apprenticeship Colorado, which is part of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), to develop a Colorado-specific public sector apprenticeship toolkit that provided guidance on expanding the number of RAPs offered by Colorado state agencies. The partnership was initiated after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed Executive Order D 2022-027, which directed the CDLE and the Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) to increase RAP offerings in state government by 20% by June 2023. Since then, Polis has signed Executive Order D 2023-016, further instructing the CDLE and DPA to increase the number of RAPs in state agencies by 50% by June 2024.

Like Colorado, many other states are interested in using apprenticeship as a tool to address labor shortages in state and local government. The new Public Sector Apprenticeship Toolkit has been adapted from the original Colorado guide to serve as a  resource for state, county and city governments across the country when implementing public sector apprenticeship programs. The goal of the toolkit is to educate state and local leadership on the benefits and implementation of RAPs and support them to identify and address common barriers.

The Public Sector Apprenticeship Toolkit was developed with funding support from Ascendium Education Group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping people reach the education and career goals that matter to them. CSG staff received support from the Urban Institute and the National Association of State Personnel Executives in developing the toolkit.

“We are pleased to partner with our friends at Ascendium,” Adkins said. “They know that state government performance can be enhanced by pursuing apprenticeship opportunities. CSG is proud to share how state leaders are addressing workforce challenges.”

Ascendium invests in initiatives designed to increase the number of students from low-income backgrounds who complete postsecondary degrees, certificates and workforce training programs, with an emphasis on first-generation students, incarcerated adults, rural community members, students of color and veterans. Ascendium’s work identifies, validates and expands best practices to promote large-scale change at the institutional, system and state levels, with the intention of elevating opportunity for all.

For more information on the CSG Public Sector Apprenticeship Toolkit, please contact CSG Policy Analyst Mary Wurtz via email at [email protected].

To view and/or download the toolkit, please visit the following link:

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