Spokane Community College (SCC) has celebrated National Apprenticeship Week in a variety of ways; hosting an open house, partnering with Spokane Workforce Council to launch an inclusive website and releasing social media videos promoting registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities. SCC has chosen to highlight best practices of hosting an open house to introduce attendees to the extensive opportunities available in the construction industry through registered apprenticeship. The open house is interactive, informational, and fun.
Attendees can visit information booths hosted by a variety of registered apprenticeship partners, visit one-on-one with trade representatives, and apply to registered apprenticeship programs. Attendees can also participate in hands-on construction activities such as, soldering pipe, operating heavy equipment, working chop saws and nail guns and basic electrical wiring. During the event, there are breakout sessions scheduled throughout the day covering such topics as Apprenticeship 101 and The Benefits of Apprenticeship. Door prizes from registered apprenticeship partners such as, hard hats, t-shirts, hand-tools and stickers are given out.
Key components for a successful event include:
Planning Committee: A planning committee is critical to the events success. The committee should include a wide-ranging group of individuals from different organizations (colleges, apprenticeship programs, trades people, Workforce Development Councils, etc.). The committee’s duties parallel the event activities and include media/communications, site location and design, refreshments, equipment, outreach to attendees, waivers, and meeting/managing attendees’ expectations.
Volunteers: Event volunteers perform important functions that include guiding attendees through the event by greeting and answering questions, assisting with activities and overall organization. Volunteers can also help keep the site safe and monitor safety expectations.
Safety: In planning and managing the event, safety takes precedence over all other aspects. Participant expectations and attire are communicated before the event. Labor and industry safety professionals attend to ensure all safety protocols are followed. A safety orientation takes place before the event begins and covers PPE (personal protective equipment) and general safety awareness. Experienced professionals are available at each station to explain the importance of safety when handling various tools and materials.
Informational Materials/Take-Aways: Participants should leave the event with all the information needed to enter a registered apprenticeship program. Bags should be given out with industry information, FAQs, program brochures etc. In addition, fun swag should be added such as water bottles, key chains, and pencils.
By hosting an open house during National Apprenticeship Week, SCC has been able to successfully promote registered apprenticeship in the community, recruit viable candidates to our programs and increase diversity in the trades by promoting underrepresented populations.