February 8, 2023


California Developing Roadmap for Teacher Apprenticeship

Labor & Workforce Development Agency launches multi-stakeholder effort to design, scale and sustain Registered Apprenticeship Programs in teaching throughout California

Sacramento – The California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (Labor Agency) last week commenced a multi-stakeholder initiative that convenes leaders in the education, labor and policy spaces to design, launch and scale Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) in teaching across California. With generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Silver Giving Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation, staff at the Labor Agency, including the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS), with support from Education First Consulting, will lead this Working Group of stakeholders in developing a roadmap for implementing and scaling RAPs in teaching for the state of California.

“California is taking the tried-and-true model of apprenticeship and extending its benefits to new industries such as education,” said California Labor Secretary Stewart Knox.  “For many individuals, the opportunity cost of becoming a teacher is too high. Apprenticeship can help remove barriers to entering the profession by allowing prospective teachers to ‘earn while they learn.’ This both increases access to and reduces the cost of teacher preparation – a win-win for all.”

There is both a national and statewide teacher shortage necessitating innovative solutions to bolster a diverse and talented educator pipeline. Many factors contribute to this critical shortage including declining enrollment in educator preparation programs (EPPs), prohibitive financial propositions like unpaid clinical experience, and challenging school climates that offer little support to educators.

RAPs in teaching have emerged as a promising pathway to address educator labor shortages. Validated by either the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency, RAPs offer a high-quality, rigorous pathway into a profession through an “earn-and-learn” model. Apprentices earn progressive wages while learning on the job.

“California is transforming education as we know it, including universal pre-K, universal school nutrition, and billions of dollars in new supports from cradle to career,” said Ben Chida, Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Governor Gavin Newsom. “Those efforts depend on the people power of well-prepared and well-supported teachers, and registered apprenticeships are a critical tool to strengthen the pipeline.”

The Working Group will be meeting throughout 2023 to inform the design of RAPs in teaching, building upon the state’s existing educator preparation pathways and investments.

The state has invested in several initiatives to recruit, prepare and retain diverse teachers. The $500 million Golden State Teacher Grant Program provides grants of up to $20,000 to cover the cost of attendance for students enrolled in professional preparation programs including teaching, counseling, social work and psychology. Furthermore, the $550 million Teacher Residency Grant Program aims to launch new and expand existing teacher residency programs that integrate coursework and a yearlong placement in a classroom under the guidance of a mentor teacher.