College Toolkit

Apprenticeships are the gold standard of Workforce Development as they create a true earn and learn onramp to a career. And Apprenticeship programs developed in collaboration with Community Colleges such that the apprentice is not only earning a full living wage, but also getting college credit both for the classes they take and the on the job learning, are the gold standard of Apprenticeship.

If you are new to apprenticeship, I encourage you to review the Getting Started section. This toolkit is a particular set of resources around setting up an apprenticeship program specifically in CA Community Colleges.

Jump to the section that is most relevant to your program setup.

Financials of Apprenticeship

Did you know that apprentices that are registered with any CA Division of Apprenticeship Standards approved apprenticeship program can attend community college courses completely for free? And in fact colleges are not allowed to charge apprentices enrollment fees.

“No apprentice will be charged the $46 per unit enrollment fee, or nonresident tuition, for any course taken as part of an approved DAS apprenticeship program, whether the student’s attendance is reported on the CCFS-320 or CCFS-321.”

“Allows for the attendance of apprentices enrolled in any class offered for community college credit by a community college, as part of state approved apprenticeship training program, to be reimbursed at the per credit FTES funding rate.”

There are a lot of different possible funding sources for apprenticeship programs generally, however in the Community College system specifically, there are 2 primary mechanisms for the ongoing funding of apprenticeships. For a single program, a college must chose one or the other of these, but not both.

Apportionment FTES

Apportionment or Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) funding can be utilized for any for-credit or non-credit apprenticeship connected course offered at a community college. This is new as of 2020 (see the memo above)

~9.25 / training hour

Reported on CCFS-320 Form

Benefits of FTES Funding:

  • The obvious dollar differential – it is more beneficial for the college to collect FTES
  • As a new program, it is easier to tap into this funding source, especially if the college already offers the course you need for your apprenticeship program.

Challenges of FTES Funding:

  • By nature, FTES funding is not typically passed on to 3rd party entities. Not to say this is not possible through an Educational Services Agreement, however it is not common practice to do this. In apprenticeships there is often a Union or Intermediary that a college is partnering with, and if that partner is doing the administration or instruction, then funding needs to be passed to them.
  • Because this is a newer funding mechanism at the college for apprenticeships, you will need to setup systems internally for registering and reporting apprentices using FTES (see section below)

(last updated Sept 2021)


Related and Supplemental Instruction (RSI) funding has historically been used with apprenticeship programs. Most Union building and fire trades apprenticeship programs utilize RSI.

$6.77 / training hour

Reported on the CCFS-321 Form

Benefits of RSI Funding:

  • This funding is setup to be passed onto partners as needed. And in fact most building and fire trades apprenticeships are setup this way where much of the training happens with the Union. This RSI funding can therefore easily be passed on externally to those doing the administration and instruction.

Challenges of RSI Funding:

  • The obvious dollar differential – both the college and the partner are getting less when using RSI funding for apprenticeship training.
  • RSI is a fixed pool of funding allocated to a certain number of training hours per year and on a reimbursement basis. Therefore it can be tricky to tap into this funding sources as a new program.

(last updated Sept 2021)

To setup any new apprenticeship funding, you should consider a braided funding approach and tap into the many grants and different possible funding sources to cover the launch and administration costs. Here is the funding reality of apprenticeship in CA:

Chart showing possible funding sources
Chart showing possible funding sources
California Apprenticeship Initiative

CAI typically offers grants annually around $500K for new programs.

Current Funding Opportunity

Due Dec 17th, 2021

California Workforce Development Board

High Road Training Partnerships

Local Workforce Development Boards are also critical partners when setting up new Apprenticeship Programs.

California Employment Training Panel

ETP administers training funds that can be leveraged by Employers to get reimbursed for training, including apprenticeship training.

USA Department of Labor

There are many federal funding opportunities around apprenticeship, setup a filter on

Work Experience

Work Experience courses can absolutely be used with Apprenticeship Programs, and I would highly recommend doing so. When setting up Work Experience Courses as part of your apprenticeship program at a Community College, it benefits all stakeholders:

  • Apprentices get college credit for some of the learning they are doing on the job
  • The college increases both enrollment and FTES by incorporating work experience courses
  • The program sponsors are setting up a program in which the apprentices are getting more college credit
  • With the addition of work experience courses, the college is more likely to have a program that could map to a certificate or degree when combined with the other RSI courses.

Title 5 Regulations specifically related to Work Experience

“Cooperative Work Experience Education is a district-initiated and district-controlled program of education consisting of the following types:

(a) General Work Experience Education is supervised employment which is intended to assist students in acquiring desirable work habits, attitudes and career awareness. The work experience need not be related to the students’ educational goals.

(b) Occupational Work Experience Education is supervised employment extending classroom based occupational learning at an on-the-job learning station relating to the students’ educational or occupational goal.”

Title 5, Div. 6, Ch 6, Subch 4, Art 4., Sec. 55252

“a) …students may earn up to a total of 16 semester credit hours or 24 quarter credit hours, subject to the following limitations:

(2) Occupational Work Experience Education.

A maximum of eight credit hours may be earned during one enrollment period in occupational work experience education.

(b) The district policy on course repetition adopted pursuant to section 55040 may permit a student to repeat a cooperative work experience course any number of times so long as the student does not exceed the limits on the number of units of cooperative work experience education set forth in subdivision (a). Consistent with section 58161, attendance of a student repeating a cooperative work experience course pursuant to this subdivision may be claimed for state apportionment.”

Title 5, Div. 6, Ch 6, Subch 4, Art 4., Sec. 55253

Therefore, while Work Experience is up to the local control of the District, it is entirely possible to utilize as part of an apprenticeship program.

Important to note on the Financial side

  • As a college you can ONLY college FTES on Work experience courses.
  • A College can NOT collect RSI funding for Work Experience courses. This is because RSI requires positive attendance or positive contact hours, and Work Experience courses do not fit that criteria.

But note that you can have a single program where the courses connected to RSI are paid for using RSI funding, while the program can also have Work Experience courses and be collecting FTES only for those Work Experience courses.

Here are some slides from when this was discussed in the Bay Area, in case this is helpful to you:

Registering and Reporting

In progress, please come back soon.

Minimum Qualifications

In progress, please come back soon.