ED Request for Member Input on Pre-Apprenticeship Programming

Are you an Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) funded provider? Interested in pre-apprenticeships? We want to hear from you!

In 2017, the Office of the President issued the Executive Order on Expanding Apprenticeship in America.   As a result, ED and partners have been looking at what makes successful apprenticeship programs.  Using pre-apprenticeships to establish on-ramps to apprenticeship programs is one approach to expanding their reach to involve more Americans, including adult learners.

On behalf of ED, Luminary Labs is designing online resources to support adult educators in creating high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs.  You may have read about Luminary Labs' outreach to members in October 2019.   To better inform this work, Luminary staff want to hear your thoughts on what information would be helpful for providers looking to design a pre-apprenticeship, and what existing resources may be most useful.

On June 23-25, LINCS member and Luminary Labs Senior Associate, Eden Baker, will be joining us here to ask about your experiences with pre-apprenticeships.  Even if you have never worked with pre-apprenticeships, Eden and I will be exploring the topic to help you think about what role they might play in your program's future.  If you're not familiar with pre-apprenticeship, I encourage you to check out the elements of a quality pre-apprenticeship program and case studies at apprenticeship.gov.

Mark your calendars and this thread to join us in conversation about this valuable on-ramp to making apprenticeships work for your learners.  Our conversation with Eden will be on-going over the three days, and you are welcome to join us at any time with your responses, experiences, and ideas.  Eden will have the first question posted on Tuesday, June 23rd by 9:00AM EST.  We look forward to your participation.

Best,

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com

  

Comments

Thanks for the introduction Mike! 

As Mike mentioned, we’re currently designing online resources to support adult educators to create high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs. This may include a mix of self-paced resources, such as links to articles and case studies, as well as activities like webinars. To inform this work, we’re hoping to hear from providers to learn more about your needs and preferences. 

To kick off the discussion, we would love to hear your thoughts on the questions below: 

  1. Tell us about your experience with pre-apprenticeships: Are you familiar with the term? Have you had any experience running one? 
  2. What do you see as the benefits and challenges in offering a pre-apprenticeship?
  3. Now, imagine you were designing a pre-apprenticeship program — what information would you find helpful? This might include information about: 
    • Forming partnerships with apprenticeships
    • Recruiting and screening learners
    • Contextualizing learning content
    • Promoting your program
    • Or anything else needed to set up and run a strong program

Looking forward to hearing from you all. 

Hello Career Pathways Colleagues, and Eden,

Eden asked,

  1. Tell us about your experience with pre-apprenticeships: Are you familiar with the term? Have you had any experience running one? 
  2. What do you see as the benefits and challenges in offering a pre-apprenticeship?
  3. Now, imagine you were designing a pre-apprenticeship program — what information would you find helpful? This might include information about: 
    • Forming partnerships with apprenticeships
    • Recruiting and screening learners
    • Contextualizing learning content
    • Promoting your program
    • Or anything else needed to set up and run a strong program

Although I have no direct experience with offering pre-apprenticeships, I see many potential advantages that they could offer adult basic skills learners including immigrants learning English, or those who may not be ready for post-secondary education but who have chosen a career pathway and want to get started.

For example, according to a recent NY Times Opinion piece "The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the job projected to have the largest percentage increase in employment from 2018 to 2028 is the home health aide followed by the personal care aide, a reflection of the growing older population in America."  Typically these are entry-level positions that provide low wages but, in combination with an online, largely asynchronous or blended asynchronous and real-time pre-apprenticeship program, they might be a good beginning to a fruitful health career pathway. Such a health care pre-apprenticeship program might offer home health aide and personal care aide learner-workers who have smartphones ongoing distance education/remote instruction through smartphone-accessible websites or apps.  This pre-apprenticeship program could provide health-related training skills, health-related digital literacy skills provided by health literacy digital navigators, English language skills for immigrants, and high school equivalency exam preparation. Provided as a blended learning program (mostly online delivered through smartphones, but also with opportunities for real-time help by one-on-one or small group phone or videoconference meetings, in time many learner-workers could be prepared to enter post-secondary CNA, phlebotomist and other health care training programs.

David J. Rosen

Hi David,

Thanks for your thorough and thoughtful response! 

In thinking about the healthcare example you shared: what support do you think an existing adult education provider would need to design a pre-apprenticeship program like this? Do you foresee any challenges in getting a program like this off the ground? 

And you mentioned this type of pre-apprenticeship could be delivered mostly remotely. Is this in response to COVID-19 or do you see other benefits to remote pre-apprenticeships?

Eden

Hi Eden, and others,

You wrote, "In thinking about the healthcare example you shared: what support do you think an existing adult education provider would need to design a pre-apprenticeship program like this? Do you foresee any challenges in getting a program like this off the ground? And you mentioned this type of pre-apprenticeship could be delivered mostly remotely. Is this in response to COVID-19 or do you see other benefits to remote pre-apprenticeships?"

An adult education provider would need to work closely with (a) local home health aide organization(s) ,community colleges and universities offering health care training, health career-related certification, credentials and degrees. The career pathway would need to make sense to, and be an advantage to, each of these organizations and institutions. Ideally there would already be an health care apprenticeship in place but, if not, it could be designed by a community college, and with acute and long term health care facilities and community health centers. To be successful, all the partner organizations in this career pathway would need to see a benefit to each of their organizations. Without describing this fully, the benefit to the home health aide organization, whose administrators might see this as an acceleration of loss of trained personnel as they moved on their career pathway to more training and better opportunities, is that it would be attractive to someone starting on this career pathway to see that all the stepping stones were in place for them when they started in this low-wage job, especially if their goal was to move up in the health care field.  Depending on the location, for example if in a large urban environment, there might be other partners involved.

I suggested that this type of health care  pre-apprenticeship would need to be delivered mostly remotely because of the pandemic but also because in normal times home health aides and home care workers often have rapidly changing work schedules and, as a result, cannot enroll in face-to-face classes that require regular attendance.

I am seeing this kind of pre-apprenticeship for adults who have a home health aide job, so this is a "workplace" pre-apprenticeship. Other components of the pre-apprenticeship would include health-contextualized basic skills, English language skills, and digital literacy skills. They would also include access to a health career navigator, and might include peer-learning support groups.

I welcome your thoughts and questions about this kind of pre-apprenticheship, Eden, as well as others' thoughts who may be reading this. Does this already exist in your community, or elsewhere, in the way I have described it? Do parts of what I have described exist there? If so, what would it take to expand this into a complete health career pathway whose first steppingstone might be a pre-apprenticeship such as I have described?

David J, Rosen

 

 

Thanks for the follow up David. 

Echoing David's questions — Does anyone have experience with a pre-apprenticeship along the lines of what David has described or in the healthcare sector more broadly? And has anyone been involved with a virtual pre-apprenticeship? I'd love to learn more about your experiences.

Eden 

 Thanks for these questions, Eden.  What are some Pre-Apprenticeship (PA) programs and/or frameworks that you have seen which would help us to better understand what existing programs look like? 

We know that PA can be a pathway to apprenticeship programs, and that they frequently happen with younger learners in K-12.  Are there PA programs serving a wider spectrum of adult learners that we can look at to better understand how they are effective in contexts like ABE, ESL and other post-secondary settings?

Best,

Mike Cruse

Hi Mike,

Absolutely. DOL's Training and Employment Notice 13-12 outlines the attributes of a high-quality program. You may also want to have a look at JFF's Framework for a High-Quality Pre-apprenticeship Program. High-quality pre-apprenticeships have strong connections to existing apprenticeship programs, deliver hands-on learning that is aligned to industry needs and standards, and provide access to support services and career counseling.

Pre-apprenticeship programs generally work with groups that are underrepresented in an industry (e.g., women in construction) or who may otherwise experience barriers to entering an apprenticeship. Programs aim to break down these barriers by helping adults enter, prepare for, and succeed in apprenticeships. 

Pre-apprenticeship: Pathways for Women into High-Wage Careers includes some examples of programs that work with women. You may also find this case study of the CVS pre-apprenticeship program helpful too.

Programs can take many forms so these examples are by no means exhaustive! Does anyone know of high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs in their area? Or have you been involved in delivering one yourself? 

Eden 

Thanks for sharing these additional resources, Eden. The Pre-Apprenticeship: Pathways for Women into High-Wage Careers resource notes the following about Pre-Apprenticeship (PA).

CBOs (Community Based Organizations) are well-positioned to play a strong role in preparing under-represented populations for apprenticeship programs. They are well-known in communities and are frequently the entry point for under-skilled individuals and other targeted groups seeking support to develop a solid career path. Many workforce-oriented CBOs already provide services such as career counseling, remedial math and language skills, job readiness skills and referral to and placement in training programs and jobs. These are the elements necessary for pre-apprenticeship programs targeting disadvantaged participants, as well. 

I know we have a large number of members who work with CBOs.  Your program may not call itself a PA provider; however, there's a chance that you're providing elements similar to what is required for PA.   If that's a possibility, consider Eden's questions about the challenges and benefits you see in what you are already doing.  

Next, consider what information would you find helpful to move your program forward in meeting its goals with learners? Which of the areas below would you most immediately want help in thinking about to take your next step?

  • Forming partnerships with apprenticeships
  • Recruiting and screening learners
  • Contextualizing learning content
  • Promoting your program
  • Other needs...

Don't worry if what you're doing isn't a complete PA program.  Start with what you're already doing and think about what next steps would help you move the needle on better preparing learners to be part of a PA program.

Best,

Mike Cruse

Feel free to use any of the Pathway to Employment course components and modules we created for standardized apprenticeships across multiple Career Clusters.  They are posted on our NCPerkins website:

https://www.ncperkins.org/course/view.php?id=63

There are 12 Pathway to Employment courses to choose from that can serve as the curriculum for pre-apprenticeships.  All for the good of the cause.  🙂

Don't hesitate to let me know if you have questions or if I can assist further.  -Frank