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MJSA Provides Help for Jewelers Who Want to Start Mentor and Apprenticeship Programs March 25, 2024 (0 comments)


Attleboro, MA--MJSA’s mentorship program is reviving a practice that was once a vital part of the jewelry industry’s recruiting and training regimen by allowing businesses to transfer knowledge while showing younger workers a recognizable career path.

[Image credit: MJSA]

The MJSA Mentor & Apprenticeship Program launched in the spring of 2023 and has been adopted by a range of jewelers, from custom designers and manufacturers to independent retailers seeking to build up their bench operations, MJSA Education Foundation, which spearheaded the program, said in a statement. In February, the U.S. Department of Labor's Apprenticeship Office approved the program and its curriculum as a National Guidelines Standard (NGS), a designation that recognizes the program as a “model” for developing bench jeweler apprenticeships throughout the country.

The designation also provides a pathway for financial and technical assistance for jewelers who can add to MJSA’s curriculum with a training component -- such as classroom instruction or in-house technical training. These jewelers can more easily register their own apprenticeship programs on either a national or a state level. Registration would, among other benefits, open them to federal funding opportunities (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides for help with training and supervision expenses). In many states tax credits that can total up to several thousand dollars annually. For example, eligible employers in New York state receive a $2,000 credit for the first year they train a qualified apprentice; the credit increases by $1,000 for every year thereafter, up to the fifth year of apprenticeship. To learn more about the various state tax credits for hiring apprentices, go to

The MJSA Mentor & Apprenticeship Program training package is currently being offered to the U.S. jewelry industry free of charge. The package includes:

• A 50-week curriculum with step-by-step guidance toward achieving core bench skills, based on the industry's first Competency-Based Occupational Framework (CBOF).

• A free copy of A Jeweler's Guide to Apprenticeships, the award-winning book by Nanz Aalund (who also developed the curriculum and CBOF).

• Assessment tests that businesses can use when choosing apprentice candidates.

• A brief guide to creating a culture that promotes employee retention.

• A list of suppliers of benches and related equipment to help outfit a shop for an apprentice.

• Access to the MJSA Online Library. Developed to supplement an apprentice's shop training, it offers curated instructional videos and downloads showing best practices for various bench skills.

• Mentor Support resources to help mentors hone their training skills and bring out the best in each apprentice.

To register as a mentor and receive a free training package, go Prospective apprentices can also register; their information will be kept on file for mentors interested in establishing an apprenticeship program in their shops and keeping the tradition alive.

To learn more, contact Rich Youmans, executive director of the MJSA Education Foundation, at 1-800-444-MJSA (6572), ext. 3025,

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