The Positive Impact of Apprenticeship Programs
By Vicki Thompson, MAEd
Senior Project Consultant
Apprenticeship programs are often misunderstood, even after existing for 457 years! The old idea that apprenticeship is reserved for the building trades occupations (you know, a carpenter, plumber, or electrical worker) is outdated. Today, an apprentice could come from manufacturing, healthcare, even IT.
So, as we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, now’s a perfect time to address the importance of apprenticeship programs and some of the work we’ve done with employers and other stakeholders.
Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for individuals to earn a wage while mastering skills and for employers to fill skills gaps. At TPMA, we hear frequently about this need to fill the gap as workers age out and fewer skilled workers can replace them, a need that apprenticeship programs can meet. Employers benefit from this investment in workforce success by building trust among incumbent employees and increasing the likelihood of retaining these employees while continuing to build workforce skills.
One way that employers can support this connection is to invest in related technical instruction and on- the-job training (OJT) for apprenticeship programs. For example, Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition (MVMC) won a $2.9 M USDOL American Apprenticeship Initiative grant to assist manufacturers with this, and TPMA supported the project’s successful implementation. This effort, named the Greater Oh-Penn Manufacturing Apprenticeship Network, covers a 14-county footprint in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
TPMA brought together employers and education providers to advise on curriculum suited for industry needs as part of MVMC. Specifically, TPMA worked closely between manufacturers and postsecondary partners (a community college and Ohio Technical Centers) to design two state approved pre-apprenticeships and four competency-based registered apprenticeship (RA) programs, with an additional program in the approval stage at this time. The current MVMC RA programs includes areas of machining, industrial maintenance, and welding-fitting. Wherein traditional RAs are hour-based, the MVMC RAs allow the apprentice to move along in their program as they achieve milestones. These include mastery of industry skills and credentialed knowledge, such as NIMS.
TPMA developed the program model by first assessing employer needs in each county. We then worked with employers and regional education providers to designate program cohorts to run the RTI courses. To further supplement the pipeline of up-and-coming talent, MVMC also connected with schools to .
Beyond youth talent, TPMA was able to bring together stakeholders such as community-based organizations, postsecondary institutions, and American Job Centers staff to address the needs of employers in a pre-employment training program known as WorkAdvance. The program for adult learners affords on-job paid training opportunities via this adult pre-apprenticeship program. This program primarily targets underrepresented populations to receive technical and soft skills training to prepare for a full MCMV RA program. This has made a difference for employers, young people, and families in the Oh-Penn Region as it provides a paid pathway to skills and employment.
As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2020, TPMA continues its work with MVMC to advocate and provide technical assistance for apprenticeship . We are making progress toward our goal of 300 registered apprentices, 250 pre-apprentices, and expanding employer relationships to broaden training resources.
If your organization is looking for a partner to assist with the apprenticeship program development, strategy, and implementation, we can assist. Through a pillar of employer engagement, we work with partners to reach underrepresented populations, assist with braided-funding and asset mapping, develop on-the-job training and related instruction, and develop competency-based and hybrid registered apprenticeship programs. Let us know if we can assist you as you address apprenticeships. To learn how TPMA can help you, contact us today.
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