Resources for Designing Youth Apprenticeship Programs
Two recent resources from national affiliates of the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) shed new light on ways to design and advance youth apprenticeship programs in the United States. PAYA — an initiative led by the nonpartisan think tank New America — is supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Apprenticeship programs allow youth and young adults to complete high school or college and earn a paycheck while acquiring job skills and training that can lead to high-quality employment.
“These resources from two of PAYA’s national partners provide valuable guidance for those invested in the success of youth apprenticeship programs,” says Allison Gerber, director of employment, education and training at Casey. “By carefully considering these lessons and best practices, apprenticeship program leaders and advocates can grow the number of high-quality apprenticeship opportunities available to young people.”
Through programs and strategies built with the participation of young people and employers, PAYA partners hope to support 10,000 youth apprenticeships across the nation by 2025.
Promoting Equitable Programs for Youth
A two-page brief from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) discusses new approaches for incorporating youth perspectives in the creation and implementation of youth apprenticeship programs.
The brief notes that – by allowing young people to express their needs and guide decision-making processes – apprenticeship programs can foster greater accountability, develop healthier work environments and ultimately provide the best experiences for program participants. When youth and young adults in apprenticeship programs are allowed to express themselves — and feel heard — they become invested in the success of their employers and their apprenticeships.
To put these practices into action, the brief suggests that program leaders:
- pay apprentices for their time;
- allow apprentices to shape programs through participation in advisory councils and curriculum-building;
- let apprentices hold meetings among their peers;
- hold regular feedback sessions with apprentices; and
- encourage apprentices to present at events and conferences.
A State Policy Playbook to Advance Youth Apprenticeship
The playbook urges governors and state leaders to develop policies that support high-quality youth apprenticeship programs, improve connections between educational institutions and workforce systems and facilitate greater participation from students, employers and program partners.
It recommends policymakers take the following actions:
- Create a unified vision. By developing a shared vision, vocabulary and governance structure, states can effectively establish goals, set expectations and align priorities for apprenticeship programs.
- Use their platforms. State leaders are uniquely positioned to champion and spread awareness of youth apprenticeship programs.
- Build career readiness into education. Leaders should increase awareness of work-based learning opportunities available to high school students, including apprenticeship programs.
- Collect and use data. Implementing a data collection policy provides important information for creating programs and sharing insights.
- Strategize ways to reach employers. Establishing strong relationships with employers and creating awareness of the value of apprenticeships helps programs succeed and grow.
- Reduce barriers to participation. Leaders should rethink labor regulations that keep young people out of the workplace and fund initiatives that connect high schools, higher learning institutions and employers.
- Identify resources and put them to use. States should use available local and federal funding intended for workforce development to build apprenticeship infrastructure and encourage program participation.