Once the decision to implement a registered apprenticeship program at your college is made, there are many pieces that need to be put into place to achieve success. This high-level overview provides several steps AACC recommends institutions consider and establish when building registered apprenticeship programs at community colleges.
- Define the vision for your registered apprenticeship program.
- Identify the priorities for the registered apprenticeship program and determine program needs such as occupations, student populations to recruit, community workforce needs, and identifying collaborative partners. This vision will need to be affirmed by college leadership, staff, faculty, board of trustees, industry partners, and your state or Federal Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, along with other key community stakeholders.
- Develop internal systems to support your program.
- Develop and support internal systems which will be affected by the new registered apprenticeship programs. Your college should look at existing systems, how they can be used or modified to support the new program, and gain stakeholders’ support to utilize these systems. This might include partnering with existing departments within your college, utilizing a credit for prior learning process, creating and building on existing academic pathways, providing off-campus advising, employer engagement, innovative/flexible scheduling, and a method to track related technical instruction and on-the-job training components.
- Identify your champion.
- Identify a champion within your college who will guide, develop, manage, and implement the registered apprenticeship program. This individual may be an existing administrator, staff or faculty, or may be a new position hired specifically to take on this task. The college will also need to determine where this position will be physically and administratively located. For example, will this position be located on the academic or workforce side?
- Define and build your program model.
- There are many decisions that must be made in developing a new registered apprenticeship program or expanding into a new registered apprenticeship program occupation or industry sector. Answering the following questions will help your college define the framework around which your registered apprenticeship program can be built:
- Will the college become a registered apprenticeship program sponsor, provide only the related technical instruction for employer partners, or a combination of services?
- If the college wants to become a sponsor, check the eligibility of this option with your state office of apprenticeship.
- If the college is providing the related instruction; will it be for credit or non-credit?
- If for credit, will the student receive an academic credential, certificate, degree or diploma, or several academic credentials through a developed pathway?
- If for non-credit, will the student receive an industry or other recognized credential?
- If there is local market demand for the registered apprenticeship program, which occupations or career paths will be integrated into this program?
- If additional services are needed to better support the registered apprenticeship students, whom internally or externally will be providing these services?
- In working with employer partners, what specific compensation model makes sense for the registered apprenticeship program?
- Which type of training model (time-based, competency-based, or hybrid) would be best to use for this registered apprenticeship program, and what will the length of the training program be?
- Implement and scale your registered apprenticeship program model.
- Evaluation and assessment will be important as each group of registered apprenticeship students complete the program. Outcome data can be used to determine promising practices and lessons learned, which can lead to an expansion of occupations offered, locations served, and even additional registered apprenticeship programs. Success will depend largely on the leadership support within the college, strong employer partnerships, and adequate internal systems to support the registered apprenticeship program.
Below are examples from successful Expanding Community College Apprenticeship (ECCA) sites that conducted the activities above and were successful as a result and maybe relevant to your college’s work.
ECCA Success Stories and Promising Practices
- City Colleges of Chicago (Illinois)
- Kentucky Community & Technical College System (Kentucky)
- Nashville State Community College (Tennessee)
- A Quick-Start Toolkit: Building Registered Apprenticeship Programs
- HCAP Healthcare Career Advancement Program: Toolkit for High Road Apprenticeships in the Healthcare Industry
- Harper College Apprenticeship Toolkit
- Connecting Apprenticeship and Higher Education: Eight Recommendations
- High-Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Community Colleges