When implementing a successful community college registered apprenticeship program, assessing your college’s readiness is a must. Planning a new registered apprenticeship program initiative at a community college requires a systematic assessment plan, investigating both internal and external assets. This assessment should focus on a college’s internal capacity, institutional support, employer partner awareness and interest, employer partner support, labor market capacity, and sustainability.
AACC recommends framing these areas of focus into four segments, outlined below.
- Gain a clear understanding of the basic components of a registered apprenticeship program:
- Paid position with wage progression
- On-the-job training
- Related training instruction
- Determine labor market and industry partner needs:
- What are the current labor market needs in your community?
- Can these labor market needs be addressed through registered apprenticeship programming?
- Do area employers understand what a registered apprenticeship means to their organization?
- Do employers have a positive or negative association with registered apprenticeship?
- If negative, can the college successfully market and change these connotations?
- Will employer partners agree to support the development of a registered apprenticeship program and hire registered apprentices?
- If local employer partners have voiced their need for specific occupations and their interest in registered apprenticeship programs, a clear signal is in place for your college to act.
- Conduct an inventory of your college’s existing assets to determine your college’s ability to satisfy the labor market and industry partner needs. This type of inventory can be used to gauge your college’s readiness and capacity and identify existing assets that can be deployed in support of these programs. These assets range from, but are certainly not limited to:
- Existing relationships (internal and external to the institution)
- Human capital/talent
- Infrastructure and equipment
- Existing curriculum
- Financial resources
- Assess college-wide components and departments that will support the registered apprenticeship program development, adoption, and success. These may vary, but each lend to success, growth, and sustainability. Departments may include:
- Admission and enrollment
- Recruitment and marketing
- Employer relations
- Fiscal support
- Faculty involvement and training
- Workforce development department
- When assessing these departments, consider the following:
- Is the executive team supportive of this initiative?
It is important executives verbalize and make apparent to the college internal and external community that registered apprenticeships are something it will focus on and invest in.
- Can the college’s faculty and workforce development department currently offer the programs and classes appropriate to the needs of employer partners?
These programs could either be associate degrees, certificates, or non-credit programs. The selection of the program should be a collaboration between the college and the employers participating in the registered apprenticeship program.
- Are the faculty and dean of the specific programs involved on board and willing to work on the registered apprenticeship initiative?
Only if the faculty agree to this new endeavor will it succeed.
- Is the college admissions team on board and willing to work on this initiative?
This team is an integral part in all types of outreach activities both inside and outside of the college.
- Is there a college champion or lead for the apprenticeship initiative?
This person should be the creative innovator of the registered apprenticeship initiative, passionate about the effort, and be able to move the effort from an initiation phase to an execution phase.
AACC stands ready to support your RA expansion success and offers you these examples from successful Expanding Community College Apprenticeship (ECCA) sites that conducted the activities above and were successful as a result. Because of their varied geography, industry focus, and target populations, we expect that at least one, but ideally several, will be relevant to your college’s work.
ECCA Success Stories and Promising Practices