Joliet Junior College utilized a variety of marketing strategies and outreach efforts to promote and highlight its Apprenticeship Kick-Off event during National Apprenticeship Week (NAW).
The college selected a date during NAW to maximize exposure by tying it to the U.S. Department of Labor’s national campaign. JJC also partnered with local workforce boards to host this event in order to increase employer engagement and expand outreach. We also made this into a breakfast meeting so that employers could start their day with us. Our goal was to invite as many employers from our district that represented a variety of industry sectors.
We developed an invitation that was distributed through email and social media campaigns as well as featured on our website. An online registration link for the event was utilized, not only for an attendee count but also for post-event follow up. In addition to sharing this invitation with our corporate partners and JJC advisory board members, our event was promoted through collaborative outreach efforts with local workforce boards, economic development councils and chambers of commerce to raise awareness among their members. Many of these community organizations also shared the event through email campaigns to their members and posted on their social media channels. JJC also shared this event through employee newsletters and the website.
The event combined an information session and a signing event. JJC President Judy Mitchell provided opening remarks while Amy Murphy, dean of applied arts, workforce education & training, explained JJC’s program. US-DOL Apprenticeship & Training Program Specialist Ronda Kliman discussed the details of a registered apprenticeship program. As part of the employer panel, representatives from two companies shared their perspectives about the benefits of participating in a registered apprenticeship program. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity representative Jennifer Foster shared tax credit information and presented JJC with an official proclamation from Illinois’ Governor.
Following the information session, the signing event took place. The U.S. DOL announced a new registered apprenticeship program in culinary arts/hospitality and manufacturing at Joliet Junior College and presented college representatives with a certificate. Representatives from two area companies officially signed on to be part of JJC’s registered apprenticeship program.
Dean Guido, regional director at U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprentice3ship; Callan Eschenburg, project manager of apprenticeships at American Association of Community Colleges; and local media also were in attendance.
A variety of marketing collateral was developed exclusively for this event. A program booklet and PowerPoint were created for the presentation. A customized tablecloth and metal graphic sign were developed and prominently displayed as an added visual element during the signings. At check-in, each guest received an information packet that included JJC’s newly developed registered apprenticeship program brochure, tax credit information and a follow-up lead card. Guests could fill out their contact information to receive more information and schedule a follow-up appointment.
“The goal of our event was to raise awareness about the benefits that registered apprenticeship programs can bring to our area,” JJC Dean Amy Murphy said. “We were thrilled at the number of companies that attended our event to find out how JJC can be a resource for this important initiative, and the number of companies who have requested follow-up meetings to explore this program further.”
Post-Event Follow Up
We were pleased to have more than 40 companies representing various industry sectors from manufacturing and culinary arts/hospitality to landscaping and healthcare attend our event. Afterwards, we wrote an article highlighting the celebration and included a photo gallery that was featured on our registered apprenticeship program’s web page (www.trainingupdate.org/apprenticeship). This article was also shared through email campaigns and social media posts as well as distributed to our community partners. We also shared the event highlights with our attendees and followed up with them to schedule individual appointments. Our event was also featured in several local publications throughout JJC’s district. The outreach after the event was equally important as before the event so that we could keep the momentum.
Since we are limited to hosting large-scale events due to the pandemic in 2020, we are still planning to engage with employers in our community by hosting a virtual event during National Apprenticeship Week.