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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Glossary 

OJT - On-the-job training

RI - Related Instruction, commonly delivered at the community college

LAUNCH - The sponsor of State-approved apprenticeship programs. MSJC Automotive is one of its programs.

MSJC - Mt San Jacinto College, one of several colleges offering related instruction for LAUNCH programs.

An Apprentice is (usually) an individual with little or no experience hired by a company at a reduced wage to be part of its workforce and to receive OJT in the workplace and Related Instruction in school. Mutual expectation by company and individual is that wages will increase as skills are gained and at the completion of the apprenticeship, the Apprentice will be given an opportunity for regular employment if suitably qualified.

Yes, there are several common and important variants:

  • An incumbent worker with experience may be designated to enter into Apprenticeship as a means of accelerating the acquisition of advanced skills.
  • Also, a High School student may be assigned part-time in association with a registered apprenticeship Program to provide well-directed preparation for later entering into apprenticeship.

A Program for apprentices is an orderly plan, overseen by a sponsor, for delivering OJT and RI for a particular occupation. A registered Apprenticeship Program in California is one that has been reviewed and approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, providing assurance that planned training and other features of the program are relevant and adequate. An apprentice can become registered in California only through participation in a registered Apprenticeship Program. 

Generally, no, but here is a fine point worthy of elaboration. There are tens of thousands of occupations within the workforce. Consequently, as a practical matter, Apprenticeship Programs are organized by Career Area or Industry Sector and often deliver training along several different "pathways" to suit the needs of related but different occupations. So programs typically address just one occupation, but frequently a program addresses several related ones.

A registered Apprentice is an individual whose apprenticeship is within a formal Apprenticeship Program approved by the State and/or the US Dept of Labor to ensure that OJT and Related Instruction meet industry standards, that wages meet relevant standards, and that an award of credentials is associated with successful apprenticeship completion.

The LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network is an organization serving the Inland Empire/Desert Region that brokers and oversees relations among employers, apprentice-employees, and education providers. See details at

The acronym stands for Local Apprenticeship Uniting a Network of Colleges and High Schools. This says a great deal… Apprenticeship implies that employers are engaged in the training and the "CH" names the RI providers. The LAUNCH organization provides the resources needed to Unite employers and education providers into a Local Network to serve the community and the general workforce. In this capacity, LAUNCH serves as a program "intermediary" or a hub to connect many entities.

MSJC is a partner within the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network, a State-approved program, and offers an Apprenticeship Program in Automotive Technology that began in August 2020 (MSJC Fall Term). In the future, numerous other Career Areas are slated for inclusion in the MSJC programs.

Several high schools in the MSJC District have automotive education programs. LAUNCH-MSJC collaborates with these programs for the benefit of the students. This question is addressed in some detail in the Education Partners section of the FAQs.

No, the two are not the same. Work-based Learning (often called WBL) is a common feature of both internship and apprenticeship. Registered Apprenticeship has specific features in California, actual employment by a firm being one of them. Although internship in certain fields (the medical professions for instance) also has a very specific meaning, in the general sense "internship" may or may not involve pay for interns, commonly does not engage the intern full time, and typically does not lead to award of a credential.

Generally, no, because registered apprenticeship demands a condition of employment for the individual that is ordinarily not met by an internship.

Education Partner Questions

If you have not already been contacted to undertake discussion with MSJC, another CC, or LAUNCH, simply email to express your interests. The MSJC Apprenticeship Administrative Assistant will contact you with details as to how to proceed. At present, no formal pre-apprenticeship arrangement is contemplated. Instead, a simpler approach is available involving these familiar elements:

  1. HS establish articulation agreements with MSJC to address appropriate automotive courses - this will provide your HS student with credit for courses required by apprentices;
  2. encourage your HS student to enroll in MSJC on graduation - students having taken articulated courses will already have credit toward required Related Instruction and by virtue of the HS training they are likely to receive preferential treatment in apprentice job placement;
  3. while in HS, the connected student is likely to experience exposure to facilities of our Industry Partners and to their management.

Yes. If a college on MOU with LAUNCH gets a program in, eg, Healthcare, registered with DAS through customary intermediary action of LAUNCH, and a second MOU-related CC member of LAUNCH wishes to begin a registered apprenticeship program in Healthcare, the second program need not apply for DAS approval from scratch. Of course, the original program would have been approved with a certain Program Outline and other provisions, so all new programs must resemble the first, or a request must be made to broaden the original program. Such a request is a reasonably common occurrence and likely to receive a more rapid response than that of a brand new program.

In short, yes, your program may become active in one of the already-approved programs in LAUNCH.

Student Questions

  • You will be employed during the term of your apprenticeship.
  • You will receive structured OJT in the workplace through the term of your apprenticeship.
  • You will receive classroom and shop instruction that supplements your workplace experience. This instruction at MSJC is provided with fees waived.
  • You will be strongly encouraged to work toward the award of industry-recognized credentials that will serve you throughout your career.
  • You will be awarded a relevant credential on successful completion of apprenticeship.

The Apprenticeship Program is structured in such a way that you will receive OJT under the supervision of a mentor within the company and that program of OJT is established and agreed-to in advance. A wage/skill progression plan is also arranged and agreed-to in advance. Related Instruction is obtained outside the workplace, in an MSJC classroom with highly qualified, experienced instructors.

The OJT and the RI are intended to be integrated as much as possible… but the workload in the shop is a bit less predictable than the classroom. In class you will receive a little more of the theoretical side and you will be taught system-wide concepts, which are more difficult (and time-consuming) than you'd want to teach in the shop. At MSJC there is a well-equipped shop, so you will get hands-on experience there as well - the big difference... in the workplace, there is a customer at the other end. At MSJC, the training is in the following fields: engine performance, auto electrical/electronics, brakes, steering/suspension/alignment.

Yes it is. Enrollment in the MSJC Registered Apprenticeship Program automatically leads to a waiver of fees.

You will be awarded a Certificate of Completion by California DAS. If Related Instruction is satisfactorily completed, you will earn an MSJC  Automotive/Transportation Technology Certificate. You will be strongly encouraged to work toward the award of industry-recognized credentials that will serve you throughout your career. MSJC courses support preparation for exams that lead to award of industry credentials; the agencies providing those awards are separate from MSJC.

It's easy to get the ball rolling. Email apprenticeship@msjc.ed and briefly describe your interests. The Apprenticeship Administrative Assistant will write back to explain the steps to be followed. You may experience other contact opportunities, for example while attending a presentation or visiting the LAUNCH website. You may take those opportunities as well; they lead back to the MSJC Apprenticeship Administrative Assistant.

That individual will assist you to enroll in the Apprenticeship Program and register for the appropriate classes at MSJC. After a period of time, depending on your initial automotive background, and performance at MSJC, you will be assisted with employment opportunity and if successful in job interviews, the workplace phase of your apprenticeship will begin. Typically, you will be placed in your first or second school term and OJT will continue through your apprenticeship.

If you are eligible to be enrolled at MSJC and if you are eligible to be hired by a typical company within the automotive repair and maintenance industry, then you are eligible to begin as a registered apprentice. Once you are registered in the program, you may have to meet certain minimum standards of readiness for industry employment. MSJC intends to provide apprentices that are ready for at least entry-level positions, so the school identifies students in the program who are employment-ready.

Yes, several high schools in the MSJC District have automotive education programs. There are a number of important benefits: 1) Obviously, you get an early start on your chosen career path; 2) you may be eligible to participate in the MSJC internship program, taking college courses and getting workplace exposure; and 3) if you have prior training such as this, you may qualify to immediately seek apprentice-employment once you graduate from high school. (Others without this experience will have to take one or more college courses first.)

"This depends on the employer, naturally, but some guidelines are available. Ordinarily, it would be some % of what you would earn on completion of training, when you become qualified to perform a wide range of tasks. First of all, in this apprenticeship program, employers and apprentices agree to a wage/skill progression. This means that if an individual enters the workforce with nearly no skill, the entry-level wage is low; then as skills are learned through OJT, wages increase step-wise over the course of the apprenticeship.

In auto maintenance and repair, many businesses pay on a ""flat rate"" scale in which a particular repair job has a certain value. The ""skills"" the apprentice learns are exactly these jobs. So, as an apprentice works and learns, a block of skills will be acquired and the time will arrive for an increase in wages. Evaluation of wage/skill progress takes place at pre-agreed times during an apprenticeship."

The courses you need are listed in the Automotive section of the current MSJC Catalog. They are the five courses required for you to earn your Automotive/Transportation Technology Certificate. If you have no prior automotive experience, you will need one of these courses for basic training to qualify for apprenticeship employment. The rest of the courses are taken over the duration of your apprenticeship, usually one or two courses per school term.

You don't need industry experience to be hired by an automotive company that is a partner to the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network. However, MSJC will not permit you to enter the workforce without a certain amount of training; usually that will be in the form of the Basic Auto Mechanics course.  If you do have prior training, eg, through high school automotive courses, you might qualify to immediately seek apprentice-employment.

No. Certain automotive courses are required but that is all that is necessary for apprenticeship. You are welcome to take other courses. Once you are full-time employed as an apprentice, you will find that consideration of work-school-family life balance will help you decide.

In school there are tests, scheduled in the orderly way that you would expect with a classroom environment. At work there may be practical tests to demonstrate your acquisition of skills, depending on the terms of your Apprenticeship Agreement. The workplace experience will be much more varied than school, naturally, but the apprenticeship program requires that sufficient structure and formality exist, so that your OJT is broad and useful. In addition, you will be encouraged both in school and at work to seek industry-recognized credentials. After adequate study, those credentials are earned by exam.

Commonly apprentices are full-time employees and part-time students.

Employers recognize the difficulty of working full-time as well as going to school, so in collaboration with LAUNCH and MSJC, all parties cooperate to make it possible. Arranging evening classes or weekend classes is the most common solution. In some instances, employers assign a day of the week or a part of a workday for class attendance.

It depends on the needs of the employer and several alternatives could be observed. First, though, remember that it also needs to be "easy" to get OJT. That can only happen in the employer's shop.

Yes, if you have worked and studied in good faith, and it's become clear that Automotive is not the right choice, then LAUNCH will encourage you to do adequate research to select an alternative "pathway," and will assist you to get on it.

It depends (usually) on the generally accepted duration of apprenticeship set by local industry. Experts within your selected Career Area know from experience about how long it takes to become sufficiently skilled to work without requiring oversight. For the MSJC Program, industry partners agree that 12-24 months is likely to be adequate to complete OJT and RI; the shorter time frame takes into account the possibility of prior automotive experience.

Here is an even better way to look at it. The MSJC Apprenticeship Program is "competency based." It is not time-based, so it does not have a prescribed duration, just a guideline to set expectations. So, you study, you work, you acquire skills, you finish. Work diligently, work smartly, work cooperatively, get a regular job.

As is often the case, the "somebody" was simply incorrect. Apprenticeships usually differ in duration according to your selected Career Area. At the end of a successfully completed apprenticeship, you are free to do as you wish, although it is common for an employer to offer continuing employment.

At the successful completion of your apprenticeship, you can look back on: a wide range of OJT that has given you permanent skills, a lengthy time gaining workplace experience solo and in teams, a school experience supplementing knowledge gained at work, a Certificate presented by MSJC, maybe a nationally-recognized credential if you have worked toward earning that, accumulated wages that have increased as your skill level has increased, and a sense of accomplishment that will give you satisfaction... and accomplishment that will be recognized by employers throughout the industry. It's common that there will be an offer from your company for continuing employment. 

Industry Questions

Apprenticeship is intended to provide a reliable stream of incoming talent to sustain your workforce in the future. Reliability is associated with at least two factors: 1) the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network is continuously seeking employment candidates and intends to maintain a pool; 2) OJT is formalized and overseen entirely within your own shop. In addition, LAUNCH arranges for schools to provide appropriate Related Instruction and, along with your own organization, encourages apprentices to seek industry-recognized credentials.

Email and express your interests. The MSJC Apprenticeship Administrative Assistant will arrange for you to meet/speak with representatives of the Program at MSJC and LAUNCH. You'll will be presented with program details and if you desire to continue, you will become a member of the MSJC Automotive Apprenticeship Management Committee. Through this organization you make your apprenticeship needs known and contribute ideas to the development of the program. LAUNCH and MSJC members of the Committee have the goal of satisfying your apprenticeship needs.

Apprentice acquisition is arranged through the Apprenticeship Management Committee and the process is facilitated by LAUNCH. As a member of the Committee, you make head-count needs known and the Committee membership works to fulfill that need. You may also have current employees whom you would like to propose as apprentices. This works through the action of the Committee as well.

Apprenticeship head-count needs are made known to LAUNCH through deliberations of the Apprenticeship Management Committee (including communications in-between quarterly meetings) and the Committee scales its program to accommodate those needs. Ordinarily the Program will not recruit far beyond its ability to provide employers (for the obvious reason that apprenticeship requires employers). As a result, collaboration must be close to allow for smooth operation.

There is no restriction on the number of apprentices placed with any given employer. Apprenticeship Management Committee deliberations make head-count needs known, LAUNCH spearheads the effort to fulfill those needs, and distribution of apprentice-employee candidates among Committee members is made in an equitable fashion.

For a particular Career Area, the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network establishes (one or more) Apprenticeship Management Committee(s) of company representatives with common workforce interests. This core group is joined in Committee membership by representatives of LAUNCH, MSJC, other educators, workforce agency reps, sometimes community reps or others. The central purpose of the Committee is to define apprenticeship needs and to work to satisfy them.

  • The Committee is industry-driven and tasked with 1) defining apprenticeship headcount needs and skills acquisition needs, 2) addressing wage-related matters, 3) setting procedures for running Committee meetings, 4) attending to management of matters of common interest regarding the routine conduct of the apprenticeship program within the industry sector.
  • LAUNCH has broad experience with program management and the conduct of Committee meetings and works closely with industry to promote smooth operation. LAUNCH serves as liaison between industry and schools and between industry and government organizations.
  • Lengthy experience has shown that Committee meetings are required no more frequently than quarterly.

It is intended that the LAUNCH-MSJC apprentice be a full-time employee. Some employers expect apprentices to acquire Related Instruction at the college in off-hours, while others allot specified time during the work week for RI. These provisions are set in the formal Apprenticeship Agreement that is made between employer and employee at the start of the apprenticeship. Apprentices are paid in the customary fashion of your other employees. The working assumption is that such individuals are not sufficiently skilled at the beginning to be regular employees, so starting wages are set at some % of expected wages when training is complete. A wage/skill progression is set that provides for wage increase as skills are acquired through the duration of the apprenticeship.

MSJC apprentices do not require industry experience to be presented for hire by an automotive company that is a partner to the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network. However, LAUNCH will not permit the candidate to enter the workforce without a certain amount of training. Collaboration between employer and education provider through the LAUNCH-MSJC Apprenticeship Management Committee sets the standard for employment candidacy. In addition to classroom and shop training, MSJC makes special provision for preparation of candidates in the form of assistance with resumes and interview prep.

The employer aligned with the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network is expected to provide OJT to apprentices consistent with opportunities presented in the workplace and consistent with 1) the Program Outline approved by DAS to register the program and 2) the Apprenticeship Agreement executed initially with the apprentice. The Program Outline shows the list of skills that may be acquired by an apprentice within the Program; the Apprenticeship Agreement lists the specific set of skills and a prescribed timeline for their achievement.

In a work environment where pay is related to accomplishment of particular tasks for which a time-criterion is specified, a problem can certainly arise if the OJT assignment significantly slows the work process. Where an enthusiastic apprentice is paired with a mentor who is skilled at delegation and collaboration, the initial slowdown which is bound to occur can be limited and eventually the apprentice-mentor team will accomplish tasks at faster than the usual pace. If management acknowledges this in mentor pay or other recognition, then mentorship will be a sought-after position.

The LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network offers training workshops for workplace apprenticeship mentors to address techniques for supervising apprentices and for learning the methods used by the Program to monitor apprentice progress.

Once your firm is in the Program, you will communicate with MSJC or the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network. LAUNCH will collaborate with education providers to determine availability of appropriate RI. The apprentice will then be required to enroll in the appropriate classes. LAUNCH or staff of the education provider can assist the apprentice in becoming an RI student.

LAUNCH, assisted by partner education providers and others, is tasked with providing apprenticeship-qualified candidates for industry partners to interview and hire as desired. LAUNCH undertakes the chore of registering apprentices with the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards and tracking their progress regarding OJT and Related Instruction.

Guidelines concerning apprenticeship duration are decided by the Automotive Apprenticeship Management Committee. For Automotive, a term of 12-24 months has been considered adequate for program completion, depending on apprentice background experience at the start.

On satisfactory completion of an apprenticeship program, the successful apprentice becomes a candidate for continuing employment. Terms of future employment are a matter of agreement between employer and employee; LAUNCH is not engaged. Naturally, if there is a likelihood that future employment is not possible, it is in the interest of all parties to provide early warning to allow time for alternative planning and action.

Initially, it is the responsibility of the employer to address the matter according to company policy, as would be the case for any other employee. If resolution is not imminent, of course, the employer must promptly notify LAUNCH of the issue. LAUNCH will attempt to obtain resolution and failing that, will recognize termination of the apprentice by the employer and seek other alternatives.

In the event of such difficulty, promptly notify LAUNCH. If no opportunity for continuing employment exists, LAUNCH will recognize termination of the apprentice by the employer and seek other alternatives. LAUNCH will express the hope that there will be opportunity for future placement of apprentices.