Traditionally associated with the construction trades, registered apprenticeships are evolving to include high-growth industries such as IT, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare. To successfully engage a whole community of stakeholders, a college needs to have a comprehensive understanding of their own community and business needs and the value apprenticeships can offer to meet those needs.
Engaged employers are essential to effective apprenticeship training. The apprenticeship cannot happen if you do not have an engaged employer to assist with the support of the employment and a job, and the standards that meet the training needs of the employer.
There are a number of stakeholders the college should consider to help create valuable and sustainable apprenticeships. They include:
High schools: They provide a potential pipeline for future apprenticeships and host youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs.Veterans programs: Veterans come with prior training and experience in several industries; leveraging programs that support veterans can help add experience to your pool of apprentice candidates and integrate a sense of community into your programs.
Non-profit organizations: Local non-profits can help address the need to support diversity and inclusion efforts in training programs. In addition, many non-profits can support recruitment through referral programs, or provide wrap-around services to support participant completion.
Associations: Whether at the national, state, or regional level, associations provide a platform to help develop and disseminate information to partners with shared goals to support sector workforce goals. In addition, associations can be great partners to help determine industry or regional trends that may impact your RA program.
Policy Makers: They can provide a unique role in helping to motivate the local industry sector and support an increase funding opportunity that would support your program and apprentices. Your college should support this relationship with clear communications and specific asks.
Chambers of Commerce: They have a strong knowledge base of local industry and the power to engage employers. They know the local community workforce needs and other community partners to engage. These relationships can be leveraged to support your program.
Workforce Development Boards/WIOA: This critical partner provides a pipeline of potential candidates and has resources to support diversity initiatives, braid funding, provide marketing expertise, and support/manage employer relations.
State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAA) or federal Office of Apprenticeships, and regional and state DOL representatives: These federal/state entities can provide funding opportunities and are critical in setting standards, policies, and procedures that your RA program will need to follow.
Community colleges can play a role in community mobilization by reaching out to different sectors and creating partnerships that focus on pressing workforce issues. Colleges have the ability at the leadership level to reach out and elevate the perception of apprenticeships, provide technical assistance for the design and implementing of effective career pathways, and provide comprehensive competency-based curricula.
Many college executives already are involved on their local workforce boards that are represented by the organizations listed above. Colleges need to demonstrate the value of apprenticeships to other community leaders and the value they will bring to meeting the community and state workforce needs.
ECCA Successful Stories and Promising Practices
- Arapahoe Community College (Colorado)
- Houston Community College (Texas)
- Lane Community College (Oregon)
- Los Angeles City College (California)