Introducing PAYA: An Initiative to Expand Youth Apprenticeship Nationwide

Posted November 8, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Apprenticeships help young people gain skills for career success.

The path­ways from high school and col­lege to well-pay­ing jobs are grow­ing increas­ing­ly tenuous.

We’re see­ing more and more young peo­ple — par­tic­u­lar­ly black and brown youth — piec­ing togeth­er part-time, low-wage employ­ment and strug­gling to bal­ance the mul­ti­ple demands of school and work,” says Alli­son Ger­ber, a senior asso­ciate at the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. She adds that post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion can be unaf­ford­able and does­n’t always pro­vide the skills for which employ­ers hire.

Cue a promis­ing repair tool for these path­ways: Youth apprenticeship.

The right appren­tice­ship can link the edu­ca­tion and train­ing needs of young peo­ple with the tal­ent demands of employ­ers. Par­tic­i­pants can com­plete high school, start their post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion at no cost, get paid work expe­ri­ence along­side a men­tor and start along a path that broad­ens their options for the future.

With these ben­e­fits on record, the non­par­ti­san think tank New Amer­i­ca has recent­ly launched a mul­ti-year mul­ti-stake­hold­er ini­tia­tive called Part­ner­ship to Advance Youth Appren­tice­ship — or PAYA. This Casey-sup­port­ed effort will pro­mote high-qual­i­ty appren­tice­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties for high school-age youth across the country.

By cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple to earn a post­sec­ondary cre­den­tial and make a liv­ing at the same time through struc­tured appren­tice­ships, we can not only help repair the edu­ca­tion-employ­ment pipeline, but also begin to address the per­va­sive inequities that exist with­in it,” says Gerber.

Over the next four years, PAYA’s mem­bers hope to improve the public’s under­stand­ing of youth appren­tice­ship, gath­er and share infor­ma­tion about what is nec­es­sary for suc­cess and — through grants and direct assis­tance — expand access to young peo­ple. These mem­bers are: Advance CTE, Career­Wise Col­orado, Charleston Region­al Youth Appren­tice­ship Pro­gram, Edu­ca­tion Strat­e­gy Group, JFF, the Nation­al Alliance for Part­ner­ships in Equi­ty, the Nation­al Fund for Work­force Solu­tions and the Nation­al Gov­er­nors Association.

Youth appren­tice­ship is a time-test­ed mod­el per­fect­ly suit­ed for employ­ers who need skilled work­ers and young peo­ple who need afford­able path­ways through col­lege and the skills, expe­ri­ence and net­works that come with a real job,” says Anne-Marie Slaugh­ter, pres­i­dent and CEO of New Amer­i­ca. “[We’re] delight­ed to help build a net­work of inno­va­tors com­mit­ted to bring­ing the many ben­e­fits of youth appren­tice­ship to com­mu­ni­ties across the country.”

Learn more about PAYA

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