Youth Registered Apprenticeship

Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) & Registered Apprenticeship (WBL)

One of DOLI’s goals is to improve opportunities for businesses and employees in the Commonwealth and to contribute to economic development and quality of life for all Virginians.  One opportunity is a Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) program.  Through a coordinated effort involving community, industry, parents and school staff the YRA program addresses the dual role of preparing students for the world of work and providing Virginia with a highly skilled workforce. Local school systems can work with business partners to identify opportunities for youth employment based upon the occupational instruction offered at the school.

Registered Apprenticeship Work-based Learning Opportunities

Virginia’s student apprenticeship programs combine work-based learning and on-the-job training with occupation- specific technical education. Students who participate in Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) and Registered Apprenticeship (RA) programs graduate with a high school diploma, industry knowledge, and real-life occupation- specific work experience.

Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA)  

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is our partner in introducing Registered Apprenticeship to high school students, Career and Technical Education staff, parents, advisors and the community Employers within each local school’s footprint.  This model is approved as a work-based learning option that allows the student to meet graduation requirements.  This is the complete WBL guide for VDOE that is our reference document:

Youth Registered Apprenticeships (YRAs) should be undertaken in consultation with the Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI) Division of Registered Apprenticeship. YRA is a career preparation HQWBL method that integrates CTE curriculum and On-the-Job Training (OJT) to help students gain employability and occupational skills. CTE programs provide Related Technical Instruction (RTI) based on the Virginia Department of Education’s statewide curriculum framework guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Licensed and endorsed CTE teachers and journeyworker experts instruct youth apprentices.


Apprentices are simultaneously enrolled in CTE classes to meet high school graduation requirements and receive occupation specific RTI. Additionally, the participating sponsor/employer provides supervision as a skilled mentor. Upon completion of a high school diploma, apprentices are encouraged to continue in the occupation as adult apprentices at the discretion of the employer/sponsor and will be subject to all standard OJT and RTI requirements.


Youth Registered Apprenticeship at a Glance

Suggested Grade Levels 11-12
Graduation Requirement Yes
Number of hours required There are no minimum or maximum work hour requirements for student apprentices, but students who complete at least 280 OJT hours per year of YRA will receive an additional credit toward graduation. YRA may be part-time or full-time at various times of the year. Part-time employment and hours worked will be determined by the employer.


All work hours will be documented or tracked by the employer and will also be credited toward the completion of an adult Registered Apprenticeship program.



Yes, payment must be at least the state or federal (whichever is higher) and based on a progressive wage schedule.


Paid experiences must be conducted in compliance with federal and state labor laws. (See U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, Labor and Employment Law.)

Credit Students who complete a minimum of 280 OJT hours per school year of YRA will earn one (1) credit.
Related Technical Instruction (RTI) RTI must be occupation-specific. RTI is provided in high school CTE programs and also counts toward RTI requirements for RA.


RTI is taken simultaneously with academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements.

Teacher Qualifications Licensed and endorsed CTE teachers and journey worker experts instruct youth apprentices.
Documentation Education/Training Agreement (see Appendix C)

Registered Apprenticeship required document (check with the DOLI Consultant)

Student Eligibility Students Each student must be at least 16 years old and in the 11th or 12th grade. They must be in good standing with the school, be enrolled in a CTE program that supports the occupation, and maintain passing grades, and have satisfactory attendance. YRA participation will be canceled if the student leaves the school.


Each YRA employer may have additional criteria depending on the hours or skill set required.

Objectives The student will

●      gain employability and occupational skills

●      develop technical knowledge and skills necessary for a specific occupation through OJT and RTI

●      strengthen career awareness, workplace readiness skills, and personal development, including learning about workplace protocols and etiquette

●      receive employment experience and foster essential communication skills, workplace protocols, and etiquette

●      gain work experience


Student Schedules

YRA experiences of 280 OJT hours or more must be continuous throughout the school year even if the classroom instruction is a class in a single semester. The students must be placed in jobs related to their career goals and must adhere to the regulations and guidelines.

Registered Apprenticeship (RA)

All Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) should be undertaken in consultation with DOLI’s Division of Registered Apprenticeship. RA is a career preparation HQWBL method that is industry-driven. Employers can develop high quality career pathways to prepare their future workforce. Individuals can obtain paid work experience, occupation specific instruction, mentorship and a portable, nationally recognized credential.

RA programs combine OJT with RTI which provides occupation specific knowledge relating to the profession. RA training is based on national industry standards and can be customized to the needs of the employer. Apprentices are paid employees of a company and receive pay increases as they meet benchmarks for skill attainment. Apprentices must be paid at least the state or federal minimum hourly wage (whichever is higher).

Upon completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program, the apprentice receives a nationally recognized credential which consists of a completion certificate and journeyworker card. The credential signifies to employers that journeyworker(s) are fully qualified in that occupation.

Virginia’s Child Labor Laws Regarding Youth Employment

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and the U.S. Department of Labor are committed to helping young workers find positive and early employment experiences that can be important to their development, but the work must be safe. The youth employment provisions were enacted to ensure that when young people work, the work does not jeopardize their health, wellbeing or educational opportunities. Both Federal and State laws govern the employment of young workers and when both are applicable, the law with the stricter standard must be obeyed. Statutory authority for Youth Registered Apprenticeship programs can be found in the Code of Virginia, Chapter 5 (Child Labor) Sections 40.1-78 through 40.1-116 and Chapter 6 (Voluntary Apprenticeship) Sections 40.1-117 through 40.1-126.

Child Labor Law Resources

Next Steps

For more information about YRA please contact: