What Is Pre-Apprenticeship?

Pre-apprenticeships are programs designed to combine academic and technical classroom instruction with work experience through a Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Pre-Apprenticeship Program Requirements

  • Follows the same structure as an Apprenticeship program
  • In some cases, allows for part-time employment
  • Includes a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between employer and partner
  • Offers training specific to a particular career
  • In some instances, certifications are earned

Consultative Services

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers employers the opportunity to review practices to determine if working conditions at a facility are conducive to employing minors in a pre-apprenticeship program. A consultant from the Department’s Labor Standards Unit will visit a facility and complete an assessment of working conditions. Following Tennessee law, the consultant will work with an employer to ensure an allowable safe working environment.

Prior to the assessment, the employer will conduct a 10- to 15-minute pre-consultation phone call to discuss the occupation, job tasks, and safety practices. The employer may provide the following documentation to ensure an effective consultation:

  • A job description
  • A list of tasks required of the employees
  • A list of all equipment used
  • PPE/HAZCOM training requirements

Once a minor student is hired, the following files are signed by the employer, employee, employee’s parent/guardian, and a school representative:

  • WBL Agreement – outlines a tentative weekly schedule, the employer’s information, and the student/school information. Also indicates that the business has workers’ compensation
  • Student Insurance & Emergency Information Form – documents the insurance coverage the student has to cover anything above and beyond what workers’ compensation covers
  • Safety Training Log – documents safety trainings completed either in the school or at the workplace. Employers are permitted to maintain their own records as long as they can access those records on demand.
  • Hazardous Occupation Exemption Form – documents any hazardous job tasks students may do during the placement. This form is unnecessary if no hazardous job tasks are performed by the student.

Child Labor Law Overview

The purpose of the WBL Child Labor Overview is to provide WBL coordinators, school and district administrators, students, parents, and employers with the most pertinent Child Labor Act information associated with minors enrolled in WBL courses. For general information, view the Work-Based Learning (WBL) Child Labor Law Overview (PDF).

Application Instructions

Click below to review instructions for a Tennessee Certified Pre-Apprenticeship Application.


Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
(615) 532-0148  


How to Submit Application for Tennessee Certification of Pre-Apprenticeship

Applications will be accepted electronically as complete documents to Partial submissions will not be reviewed by the Apprenticeship TN Office (AO).


About MOU

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

All Tennessee Certified Pre-Apprenticeship programs must have an articulated agreement or signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Registered Apprentice Program (RAP). The memorandum of understanding (MOU) must outline the pre-apprenticeships training curriculum.

About Application

Required Content in Application

Applications for certification must demonstrate the program to be reviewed meets all the criteria associated with high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs.

1. Information about the applicant

All applications must include the information outlined by the cover letter and checklist.

Required information includes point of contact information, including the following:

○ the organization name,
○ organization address,
○ program manager name,
○ program manager phone,
○ program manager email, and
○ mailing address (if different from organization address).

The application should also include the following:

○ the organization’s experience with technical training,
○ connections to the workforce and community,
○ target population to be served,
○ resources brought to bear, and
○ any other information pertinent to the organization’s qualifications as a pre-apprenticeship training provider (two-page limit)

2. Program cost information

Applicants must disclose and detail the necessity of any costs associated with the program, which might be the responsibility of the pre-apprentice to pay as well as any plans for removing cost as a barrier to participation (one-page limit).

3. Commitment to non-discrimination in training

The Tennessee certified pre-apprenticeship program will take affirmative action to provide equal opportunity in pre-apprenticeships and will operate the pre-apprenticeship program as required for registered apprenticeships under title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 30 and will be expected to monitor their programs to ensure equitable access and participation. The Apprenticeship TN office will review demographic data on program participants and completers when a program applies as part of the determination for re-certification. The certified pre-apprenticeship program will not discriminate against pre-apprenticeship applicants or pre-apprentices based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), sexual orientation, genetic information, or because they are an individual with a disability or a person 40 years old or older.

Access to Appropriate Support Services is critical. Please describe what access to educational, career counseling, and other supportive services, directly or indirectly, are offered. Applicants must describe the career counseling and other supportive services being provided to participants. If the applicant is not directly providing the services to participants, this section must include the name, contact information, and qualifications of the third-party providing the services. All third-party providers must follow the same requirements for registered apprenticeships under title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 30 for non-discrimination (two-page limit).

4. If applicable, include the following:

Information regarding meaningful hands-on learning activities such as career exploration and understanding how the skills acquired through coursework can be applied toward future careers.

Please provide information explaining the hands-on training that will be provided (the type and extent of hands-on learning activities and other types of skill training provided to participants) (two-page limit).

5. If applicable, describe opportunities to attain at least one industry-recognized credential.

For the purposes of certification, the Apprenticeship TN office will recognize programs providing credit towards a National Certificate of Apprenticeship as an “opportunity to attain at least one industry-recognized credential.” Applicants must list any other industry-recognized credentials offered to participants and explain how participants will be afforded the opportunity to gain those additional credentials (two-page limit).

6. Please explain the strategies for long-term success of the program (two-page limit).

7. A partnership with one or more Registered Apprenticeship programs that assists in placing individuals who complete the pre-apprenticeship program into Registered Apprenticeship programs.

Applicants must submit a signed articulated agreement (AKA: Memorandum of Understanding or MOU) from the sponsor of a USDOL registered apprenticeship program.

The MOU with the employer must include the following:

○ the training curriculum,
○ name of the registered apprenticeship sponsor/employer,
○ USDOL apprenticeship program number, and
○ occupation.

The letter of support must explicitly identify the amount and type of credit a pre-apprenticeship program completer will earn if they later join the registered apprenticeship program and how that prior credit will be applied. The MOU should specify the process by which the apprenticeship sponsor will grant a pre-apprenticeship completer credit.

Credit may come in the form of the following:

○ prior learning credit counted towards completion of related technical instruction and/or
○ credit for on-the-job training hours and/or
○ credit for on-the-job training competencies and/or
○ credit for industry certifications required for completion of the registered apprenticeship.

About Certification

Certification Process

1. The State’s AO will review each application and determine if all required Pre-Apprenticeship elements are established.

a. All Pre-Apprenticeship programs will be required to provide information on apprentices for tracking purposes to the Apprenticeship TN Office (AO).

b. All Pre-Apprenticeship programs will send the required notifications by email to for any additional employer articulation agreements within 30 days of the agreement date.

2. Failure to provide requested notices, submit annual questionnaire responses, or provide pre-apprentice information to the AO will result in loss of certification status.

3. To maintain an effective and compliant Pre-Apprenticeship Program, the AO will conduct monitoring on an annual basis, at a minimum. This monitoring will allow the AO to identify potential compliance issues, track the progress of completers, and track hiring rates. The annual monitoring will include issuing an annual notification with a questionnaire. This questionnaire will allow Certified Pre-Apprenticeship programs to provide any curriculum changes and reasons for those changes. The notification will also serve as an “Intent to Continue” as a Certified Pre-Apprenticeship program. All certified programs will be required to respond to an annual reporting questionnaire. All notifications and submission of questionnaires will be conducted through email,

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