Policymakers and stakeholders, including the Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, are looking for new strategies to tackle our nation’s skills gaps through expanded apprenticeship opportunities.
In our new report, the National Network features the stories of our members and other employers across the country who are rising to this challenge with innovative, industry-led solutions that are putting Americans on the path to career success.
From an initiative to advance skills for entry-level health care workers in Kentucky to a fast-track training program to meet demand in the machining industry, employers are working outside of the federal Registered Apprenticeship Program and embracing competency-based work-and-learn models with the elements that define a quality apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships for the Modern World highlights successful programs that include blended learning, mentorship, competency-based training, a direct tie to industry-recognized credentials and either paid work experience or an employment relationship.
Here are a couple examples…
California Group Puts Transit Workers on the Road to Success
The Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC) comprises 46 partners – multiple California transit agencies, community colleges, universities and public and private organizations – that develop and deliver industry-driven, competency-based training for the region’s transit industry workforce. The Consortium, which began offering training in 2004, has been a critical player in the region by serving the needs of small and large transit systems to train new workers and upskill their existing workforce.
SCRTTC was born of the need for a coordinated workforce development strategy within the transit sector. Rapid changes influencing bus fleet operators – especially in the adoption of clean-energy transit technologies such as diesel / electric, electric / zero emission and alternative fuels – require them to remain current with technology even as it advances. Students learn through interactive coursework and laboratory exercises, testing their knowledge and skills on commercial bus system components, including electrical, brakes, heating and air conditioning and engines.
The results: 71,404 hours of training have been delivered, with nearly 5,000 students trained. The program has expanded from Southern to Central and Northern California. SCRTTC recently partnered with California State University and Long Beach City and San Diego Miramar Colleges under a California Energy Commission contract to offer distance-learning coursework. SCRTTC was awarded the California Transit Association’s Transit Innovation Award for this unique system-wide approach to training.
Constructing a Well-Trained Workforce
The Industrial Company (TIC), a heavy industrial construction company headquartered in Englewood, CO, has been training craft professionals to fuel its operations since its founding in the 1970s. The company’s current training capabilities are centralized in the state-of-the-art 150,000-square foot Craft Training Center in Aurora, CO.
Through the Craft Training Center, TIC sponsors company trainees nominated by their supervisors. The company covers full wages, subsistence and room and board for trainees while they take part in intensive training over a three-week period. Covering 150 hours of instruction, trainees split their time between classrooms and laboratories.
The results: TIC’s craft professional training, career development planning and mentoring serve as an incentive for employee growth and retention. In the past 24 months, TIC has delivered over 52,000 NCCER course completions and almost 4,000 NCCER credentials of level completion. Trained employees are rewarded based on their performance and are offered many opportunities for advancement.
These are just two of the nine models featured in Apprenticeships for the Modern World, which includes details on each program’s design and demonstrated results.
These programs and others like them – while not universally labeled “apprenticeship” – are producing results for individuals, companies, communities and the nation.
The National Network is proud of the leadership role our members and other employers and educators around the country are playing in redefining and retooling competency-based apprenticeships to meet the rapidly evolving needs of the 21st-century economy. We call on policymakers and others to use this report to guide their efforts to build America’s workforce through competency-based work-and-learn programs.