AACC recommends that executives be prepared to make a case to faculty that focuses on four areas: the impact on the industry partners they work with, the impact on the college, the impact on the students, and the impact on faculty and the program the faculty oversee.
Any college initiative is a large undertaking, and for apprenticeship programs to be successful, a college must have several components in place, the most important being fully engaged faculty. There also needs to be administrative support and other departments such as admissions and marketing being fully engaged, supported, and on-board.
AACC has found that data-driven arguments can help to demonstrate the benefits and impact registered apprentices have on industry. These data may include labor market information (LMI), including employment projections and wage and salary data, local and regional economic data and forecasting, and sector strategies, as well as any other relevant information that will assist in making the case. AACC suggests that the executive frame the data to show how registered apprenticeship can improve the general economic well-being of the community, the success and growth potential for local employers, low unemployment, a strong workforce pipeline, and the potential for strong and steady economic growth. Registered apprenticeships can have a positive impact in all these areas.
In addressing impact on the institution, the executive will want to be able to address how the implementation of registered apprenticeship will affect enrollment, revenue and expenses, facilities materials usage, and faculty workloads. In particular, the question of budgetary impact, will be important to be able to answer. A thoughtfully conducted asset assessment will ensure that the executive is well-prepared to address these questions. Necessarily, the answer will be dependent in part on what role the institution plans to play in registered apprenticeship (Sponsor, Intermediary, Related Technical Instruction provider). If the new program(s) will require new funding and or capital investment in equipment or facilities, the executive should be prepared with a realistic projection of the costs and the economic benefits of making those costs. Demonstrating examples using data on how new enrollments into one program would affect scheduling, lab time, revenue, and additional expenses. The data will vary depending on the program and number of students, but the ability to clearly address the impact is important.
As it relates to students specifically, the executive will want to be able to make a case rooted in workforce and economic development considerations. Data that show favorable employment projections in the target sector, and that show a need for a new or enhanced pipeline of skilled employees, make a strong case for an institution to address that need. As part of making the case for need, the executive will want to identify specific employers within the pipeline who have outstanding and/or projected workforce needs, and for whom registered apprenticeship is an attractive option. At a minimum, the executive will want to be able to identify specific commitments from those employers. Local workforce boards and economic development entities are also a significant asset in making a shared case that registered apprenticeship will provide a tangible economic and workforce development benefit to the community, and thereby, to the students. The executive should also point out the time commitment required but that all the on-the-job training is a paid experience which can assist students in immediate job placement upon graduation and with little or no debt at the end of their training. Many times, student’s graduate debt free, with a job and with a national credential and an academic degree.
Through experience, AACC has seen success through holding listening sessions to address and discuss issues. The executive is encouraged to think through who will be specifically impacted and proactively engage individual faculty in the planning process, so that they retain ownership over the ensuing work. Executives should have a plan to support any training of faculty to adapt to new teaching models in a manner that supports registered apprenticeship programs and convey that plan to faculty. Again, the answers may also vary depending on what role the institution plans to play in registered apprenticeships. Faculty should be made aware that registered apprenticeship programs build partnerships with employers, can open opportunities for faculty members for professional development and other training opportunities, can provide curriculum development opportunities, and additional program funding and potential employer-funded/donated materials, resources, and equipment. Part of making the case to faculty is also about making the case for their students and the ability to increase completion and create career pathways. Given all these points, AACC believes there is support for leadership to clearly articulate why registered apprenticeship should be pursued and the benefits registered apprenticeship programs will bring to the college and their students.
ECCA Successful Stories and Promising Practices
- Guided Pathways Demystified: Exploring Ten Commonly Asked Questions about Implementing Pathways. Dr. Rob Johnstone – National Center for Inquiry & Improvement
- Competency-Based and Hybrid Instruction: Two Alternative Approaches to Time-Based Registered Apprenticeships. JFF
- Training Tomorrow’s Workforce: Community College and Apprenticeship as Collaborative Routes to Rewarding Careers. Robert I. Lerman