Training Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (April 2024)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that we share with our readers. Here are the details of McCarthy Building Companies Inc.’s McCarthy Renewable Energy Registered Apprenticeship Program.

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McCarthy Building Companies Inc. developed the content for its Renewable Energy Registered Apprenticeship Program to comply with Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) requirements, so it focuses on renewable energy-specific training. Piloted in the Renewable Energy Business Unit, this McCarthy-exclusive training is based on the company’s specific work plans for the project, safety procedures, quality requirements, and technical aspects of project-specific job scopes.

The program is currently active on two project sites in Texas and two project sites in Arizona. The goal of the program is to have at least 50 apprentices and 50 mentors on each McCarthy renewable energy project site.

Program Details

The McCarthy Renewable Energy Registered Apprenticeship program, which lasts anywhere from two to four years, pairs apprentices with journey workers to support their development in the first year.

Learning objectives on the jobsite include:

  • Safe use of hand and power tools
  • Efficient and effective use of assembly tools and techniques
  • Understanding of safety and quality processes and tools
  • Preparation, layout, and quality assurance of the work area
  • Understanding codes, standards, drawings, and schematics

The related instruction outline includes an introduction to construction courses, safety courses (which include OSHA 10 and OSHA 30), and concentration and elective courses based on which specific area the apprentice is specializing in.

The program’s leadership team utilized course content from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). This ensured that training material was consistent for apprentices and that registration with various state and federal agencies would go smoothly. By using NCCER content, the credentials earned by the apprentices will be recognized in the construction industry and by the certifying bodies that ultimately approve registration of apprentice programs.

McCarthy’s Registered Apprenticeship Program consists of two programs that are two years long, and one program that is four years long. All of them require 144 training hours of “classroom” learning (this could be in-person or virtual instructor-led learning at the jobsites) and 2,000 on-the-job hours per year. McCarthy has a two-day onboarding process that is reinforced by on-the-job training in the field with qualified mentors who conduct assessments.

As employees attend classroom training, they are required be mentored in the field based on their occupation, with a prescribed checklist for a period of no less than two years. Upon the end of their apprenticeship, the employees are certified, and can utilize this certification for jobs moving forward and to advance their career. They also are required to become mentors to the next cohort of apprentices.

The integration of McCarthy’s learning management system with a Power BI dashboard allows the apprentices, project leaders, and program leadership to monitor in real time the status of apprentices’ progress.


McCarthy ran a pilot of the program in 2021, prior to the release of IRA. In the pilot, there was a 60 percent higher retention rate.

McCarthy also is expecting to see a reduction in safety and quality incidents with participants who complete the two-day onboarding program. From a safety perspective, the intent is that McCarthy will have no lost time incidents and that the amount of rework for apprentices will be 20 percent lower compared to their counterparts.

Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.