The Los Angeles City College (LACC) Apprenticeship Initiative has worked diligently to mobilize stakeholders since the onset of COVID-19. By utilizing key partnerships and targeted outreach strategies, the LACC Apprenticeship Initiative has successfully engaged and served both apprentices and employers and built impactful relationships during uncertain times.
The Apprenticeship Initiative’s outreach and programmatic development efforts focused on two key stakeholders: students and employers. Initial student outreach involved identification of key collaborators, such as department faculty, critical in bridging the gap between our program and students. These collaborative relationships were strategically developed in departments offering degrees popular within the apprenticeship sector, such as the Dietetic Department’s Dietetic Service Supervisor degree. Collaborators were instrumental in identifying a pool of qualified student applicants. A digital marketing campaign, developed and implemented in collaboration with the Student Services’ Outreach Team, was also utilized to inform LACC students about the Apprenticeship Initiative and its benefits. This campaign was successful in leading LACC students to reach out in our direction and become pre-apprentice members.
Programmatic development efforts to strengthen student engagement implemented two significant strategies:
- Collaborating with faculty experts to create and deliver a series of workshops responsive to the workforce needs of COVID-19. The series highlighted the skills required for successful remote work as an apprentice.
- Building and deploying a team equipped to provide individualized and effective student services. The team consisted of a case manager, a CTE advisor, and Career Center and Cooperative Education office personnel. Services provided included resume writing, career advising, academic counseling, and job readiness training, among others.
Employer outreach and engagement considering the pandemic presented a significant challenge. However, targeted outreach was an effective tactic in identifying and engaging collaborators. Virtual events, like Employer Roundtable, connected the Apprenticeship Initiative to the larger LACC network, the Mayor’s Office network, local work source centers and local apprenticeship programs. Through successful engagement with employers, we found that best practices for mobilizing these stakeholders includes personalized and transparent communication. Consistent one-on-one meetings with potential employers clearly detailed what committed collaboration with our initiative meant, defined the employer’s role, and specified what would be required from both partners to ensure successful apprentice placements. As of August 2020, the Apprenticeship Initiative has successfully partnered with MEIRXRS to place students in their food quality inspection apprenticeship.
One learned experience thus far is the need to allow ample time to contact and register students, as well as reach out and establish communication with partners. Furthermore, the scheduling of activities, such as workshops, must take into consideration the time constraints of all stakeholders. For example, our first workshop series had only one attendee. The second round of the series was adapted so the workshops were not scheduled consecutively and were delivered in the evening. These considerate scheduling changes led to a successful workshop series with 19 students in attendance. Kathleen, a student attendee, noted that the series was “very fun and informative” and “an excellent resource!”
Currently, the Apprenticeship Initiative continues to work toward identifying registered apprenticeship programs to best serve LACC students. We are also excited to be in the development stage of a new series of workshops, launching in late fall, as well as in the planning phase of various networking events and employer round tables.