Increasing Access to Apprenticeships- The Conversation Continues

A huge thank you to our presenters for the live Zoom event that was held on June 22, 2021:

Jennie Mollica-High Road Alliance

Amber Gallup Rodriguez-New Mexico Higher Education Department


Dr. Laurie Coskey-San Diego Continuing Education Foundation

Jessica W. O’Connor-Dartmouth-Hitchcock Workforce Readiness Institute

We had a great turnout for the live event, but we wanted to provide a space to summarize the event and allow for more discussion on this important topic. 

Event Summary:

Jennie and Amber gave a wonderful overview around the terms Apprenticeship, Pre-apprenticeship, Career Technical Education (CTE), Integrated Education and Training (IET), Work-Based Learning (WBL) and showed participants how these may overlap in adult education. Benefits and challenges related to pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships were also discussed. 

Jennie also gave participants a sneak peak at the Equitable Apprenticeship Framework that is set to release soon.

Dr. Laurie Coskey and Jessica W. O'Connor gave concrete examples of pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships that are happening in San Diego, California and New Hampshire. Adult learner voices were shared through the video Gateway to College and Career Apprenticeship Readiness Program.

There was one question that participants wanted to discuss more and hopefully other programs across the country that are involved in apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships will chime in on this discussion.

Q: What advice do you have for adult educators considering involvement in pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships?

A: "Partnerships are essential. We have run this program previously but this time we have an MOU with the building trades for a soft hand-off to registered apprenticeships in the construction trades. This is a game changer for us." (Dr. Laurie Coskey)

A: "I echo Laurie, we have both partnerships internally and externally. We work a lot with our state and local support organizations to assist our apprentices to resources and also we have built a strong foundation internally through employee assistance programs, wellness groups, emergency grant funds, career and academic development opportunities, and access to college credits." (Jessica W. O'Conner)

What's Next?

  • Share your advice for adult educators considering involvement in pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships in this discussion thread.
  • Use this discussion space to ask questions about apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships.
  • Follow the Rethink Adult Education Challenge focused on advancing pre-apprenticeships.
  • Check out resources shared by our speakers:

Diversity and Inclusion in Apprenticeship

Broadening the Apprenticeship Pipeline

What Adult Educators Need to Know About Apprenticeship

Opening Doors to Apprenticeship for English Language Learners


I was glad to be a part of yesterday's discussion!  I'd be really curious to hear from those who participated and from others, what have your experiences been developing pre-apprenticeships?  Any lessons learned about how adult educators can build these bridges into apprenticeships, and how this helps to improve access to apprenticeships?  In California, we definitely are experiencing a movement to expand pre-apprenticeships, but the idea is still new to many adult education programs.  There is more funding coming along, but sometimes it's hard to even know where to begin to apply for the funding!  I wonder how others would answer this question, "What advice do you have for adult educators considering involvement in pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships?"

WorkforceGPS is a great website that offers information related to workforce development. In order to access resources and webinars, you need to create a free account. You can also subscribe to community email updates, just like LINCS. In a recent community update email, Principles for a High Quality Pre-apprenticeship was shared. Here are some of the major findings and recommendations:

"The following principles serve as a guide to reaching the goal of designing high-quality, equitable pre-apprenticeships:

  1. Beginning with the end in mind and establishing program goals are vital to consider how an equity strategy interacts with the systems of power it functions within. This includes identifying whether barriers are structural, political, geographic, or financial.
  2. Integrating successful apprentices practices such as registration systems with appropriate quality standards; guaranteed employment/career growth opportunities; common quality standards, with systems to monitor compliance; on-the-job mentorship from experienced employees; integrated education and training, as well as access to postsecondary education; meaningful, nationally recognized portable credentials; fair compensation; and robust labor protections.
  3. Promoting equitable access, recruitment, and placement through program design.
  4. Boosting quality pre-apprenticeships by ensuring fair compensation.
  5. Incorporating pre-apprenticeships into regional planning.
  6. Ensuring high-quality pre-apprenticeships lead to appropriate postsecondary opportunities." (WorkforceGPS)

I joined in the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge Pre-apprenticeship webinar on 9/23/2021 that featured the grand prize and first runner up winners. There were a few things that stood out to me that I wanted to share with the community that may be helpful if you are trying to help adult learners access pre-apprenticeship or apprenticeship programming. 

1. Student supportive services matter. Of the finalists that participated in the virtual accelerator over 75% of them listed integrating supportive services as the most helpful topic. (Setting program goals was the second highest). 

2. Use a variety of assessments. Northampton County Community College (the grand prize winner) mentioned using both the CASAS as a formal assessment and the Foundation Skills Framework self- appraisal as an informal assessment to help determine readiness for the pre-apprenticeship programming. Adult learners also created a student portfolio during the program. 

3. Support is available to help you design and implement pre-apprenticeships with your local partners. In addition to having this group to discuss and share ideas, an online course will be available on LINCS in the near future around pre-apprenticeships. It will cover 4 key topics: understanding pre-apprenticeship, working with industry, designing your pre-apprenticeship, and managing your pre-apprenticeship.