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On September 13th, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released, “Adult Training and Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016.” The report details the value credentials such as certificates, licenses and certifications have in the job market, with data supporting the importance of expanding pathways to middle-skill careers, like access to Pell grants for short-term programs and work-based learning.

Nearly fifty three percent of all jobs are middle skill jobs – those that require these certificates, licenses and certifications but not a four-year degree – and yet only forty three percent of all workers are trained at that level. The NCES report offers insight into the importance of supporting access to these non-degree postsecondary certificates for workers to develop the middle-skills businesses need.

The report is based on surveys of adults ages 16-65, as part of the 2016 National Household Education Surveys Program, and this section of the survey was intended to evaluate the prevalence and value of certificates, licenses and certifications in today’s workforce. Results show that twenty seven percent of workers hold these non-degree credentials and twenty one percent have participated in work-based learning.

Responses to the survey indicated the value recipients place on their credentials. More than eighty percent felt they were useful in getting a job, keeping a job and remaining marketable in their field. This finding is consistent with NSC’s support of the Jumpstarting Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) which would expand access to Pell grants for participants in short-term, industry certified job training programs – programs that would lead to the credentials respondents valued. The NCES report is further support for the importance of these short-term programs to workers for the development of the skills businesses need.

The survey found similar results for participants in training programs that provided on-the-job work experience – about 2/3 of respondents found this work experience improved their ability to get a job and their work skills.  NSC has developed several policy proposals to expand access to work-based learning and apprenticeship, including through support for industry and sector partnerships that convene and work with local partners necessary to start and run successful work-based learning programs. Senators Kaine and Portman have also introduced the Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills (BUILDS) Act, which would provide grants to industry and sector partnerships to expand access to work-based learning opportunities in infrastructure industries.

NSC urges Congress to support the JOBS Act and BUILDS Act to expand access to the kinds of credentials, certificates and licenses vital to workers’ success in middle-skill jobs. 

Posted In: Work Based Learning
Congressional Democrats Highlight Skills Training as Part of “Better Deal”

Congressional Democrats today released details of a new messaging campaign in advance of the 2018 elections that will highlights tax incentives for employer-based training while also boosting federal investments in apprenticeship and public-private partnerships.

The “Better Deal” campaign being rolled out this week will focus on a range of proposals, including efforts to increase federal support for infrastructure, reduce health care costs, and support family leave policies. The campaign also places significant emphasis on the idea of creating up to 10 million full-time jobs, in part by helping U.S. workers get access to skills and credentials that will support career advancement.

The materials released today emphasize three major policy ideas on skills:

  • Expanding registered apprenticeship and work-based learning, specifically by doubling the federal investment in apprenticeship. Congress has appropriated $95 million to support registered apprenticeship expansion as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 omnibus spending package approved in May, though the House appropriations committee recently passed an FY’18 spending bill that would eliminate apprenticeship funding next year.
  • Providing a new tax credit for employers who hire and train new workers. This proposal would provide an unspecified tax credit to employers who hire and train new workers, so long as those workers are being paid a good wage and retain full-time employment with the business for a set period of time.
  • Creating a network of partnerships between businesses and career and technical education programs, including at community colleges. The proposal suggests that these investments will include both sector partnerships authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and other partnerships with community and technical colleges and other training providers.

The ideas outlined in the Better Deal agenda are aligned with many of the proposals in National Skills Coalition’s Skills for Good Jobs paper released last November, particularly the focus on work-based learning and expanding partnerships between business and other stakeholders. We applaud Congressional Democrats for their support for these critical investments in skills, and we look forward to working with Congress and the Trump administration to advance policies that will help workers and businesses stay competitive in today’s economy.


Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Work Based Learning
Kaine, Portman Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Infrastructure Workforce

On July 20, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills (BUILDS) Act, that would support grants to industry partnerships in transportation, construction, energy, and other infrastructure sectors. The grants, which would be administered by the U.S. Department of Labor in consultation with the Departments of Transportation, Energy, and other federal agencies, would allow local partnerships to develop work-based learning programming, such as apprenticeships, that help workers and businesses get the skills they need to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

The BUILDS Act coincides with strong political interest in infrastructure investments. As National Skills Coalition highlighted in our recent issue brief, “Building America’s Infrastructure Workforce,” both President Trump and Senate Democrats have released plans to incentivize or support up to $1 trillion in new funding for construction and related projects, investments that could lead to as many as 11 million new jobs. President Trump also designated an “Infrastructure Week” earlier this year, during which the administration set a goal of infrastructure investment leading to one million new apprentices in two years, and signed an executive order on July 19th establishing the Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure.

Even before new investments, businesses in infrastructure face intense labor shortages because of impending retirements, a lack of diversity in the workforce, and overall skill shortages in growth industries. According to a report by the Departments of Education and Labor, there are 68 percent more projected job openings in infrastructure jobs over the next five years than there are students training for these jobs and According to a member survey conducted by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, its members poised to lose out on close to $200 million in revenues this year due to unfilled technical jobs.

The BUILDS Act would help businesses in targeted industries grow and maintain the workforce necessary to keep up with demand, while also ensuring that a diverse range of workers could access the training and credentials needed to find sustainable, family-supporting jobs in these fields. The bill is consistent with the broader recommendations outlined in NSC’s Skills for Good Jobs agenda released last November.

The BUILDS Act would support implementation grants of up to $2.5 million over three years – and renewal grants of up to $1.5 million - to partnerships comprised of multiple employers in a target industry, education or training providers, labor organizations, local workforce boards, and other stakeholders where appropriate. Partnerships would be required to carry out business engagement activities that support the development of short- and long-term talent pipelines, including:

  • Assistance in navigating the registration process for registered apprenticeship;
  • Connecting businesses and education providers for development of classroom curriculum to complement on-the-job learning;
  •  Serving as employers of record for participants in work-based learning programs for a transitional period;
  • Training managers and front-line workers to serve as mentors to work-based learning participants; and
  • Helping businesses recruit individuals for work-based learning, particularly individuals being served in the workforce system or by other human service agencies.

Partnerships would also provide support services to ensure participant success in work based learning. These services would be divided between three stages:

  • Pre-employment: prior to a work-based learning participant entering employment, the members of the partnership would provide support and training necessary to ensure the worker was prepared to enter a work-based learning or apprenticeship program. At this stage, the partnership may provide skills training, work attire and tools necessary for the work site, wrap around services such as childcare and transportation and job placement assistance;
  • Early employment: During the first six months of the participant’s connection to the employer, the partnership would provide continued support to ease the transition for both the worker and the business. For example, a partnership could serve as an employer of record for a transitional period and provide subsidized wages from grant funds, as well as provide continuing case management and support services, mentoring, and training necessary to ensure the participant’s continued connection to the program; and
  • Continuing employment: after the participant is on-boarded to the company, the grant recipient would provide at least 6 months of continuing support necessary to ensure participants are able to succeed in work-based learning programs.

Partnerships would focus on apprenticeship and other work-based learning programming during which workers earn wages while obtaining specific occupational skills and credentials along a career pathways in key industries that help advance workers into higher-paying jobs.

National Skills Coalition applauds Senators Kaine and Portman for their leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working to working to advance the BUILDS Act as part of broader efforts to enhance our nation’s infrastructure. 

Posted In: Work Based Learning, Transportation, Sector Partnerships

Briefing on infrastructure illuminates the need for skills

  ·   By Jessica Cardott
Briefing on infrastructure illuminates the need for skills

On June 14th, the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus hosted a briefing in conjunction with Business Leaders United and National Skills Coalition called “Building America’s Infrastructure Workforce.” The briefing explored how the administration’s investment in infrastructure initiatives would create millions of new jobs for Americans who are currently out of work, underemployed, or seeking higher wages. The policy recommendations discussed in the briefing can be found here.

Senator Baldwin, one of the four CTE Caucus co-chairs, opened the briefing with comments on the importance of investing in sector partnerships and apprenticeship in in-demand industries.

Industry leaders and Congressional support

BLU brought together two industry-led workforce partnerships to share best practices and policy recommendations to support workforce development in infrastructure. Dawn Pratt, from The Walbec Group, and Mark Kessenich, from WRTP/Big STEP. The Walbec Group is a family of companies that provide professional infrastructure construction and engineering services.  Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership / Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program (WRTP/BIG STEP) helps Dawn’s companies run work-based learning programs and develop a skilled pool of construction workers for The Walbec Group’s projects.

Pat Steele, the Site Director for Central Iowa Works and Dr. Matt Bruinekool, a consultant at Master Builders of Iowa completed the panel. Central Iowa Works is a regional sector partnership that has helped local businesses, including those with which Matt works, meet workforce demands by expanding populations of workers with access to training to get the skills necessary for the transportation logistics and distribution jobs in central Iowa.

NSC’s Senior Federal Policy Analyst Katie Spiker facilitated the briefing.

Sector partnership and work-based learning, demystified

The panelists shared how employers and other stakeholders are partnering to develop workforce pipelines in infrastructure sectors and why these partnerships have become vital to their success. Both employers on the panel emphasized the importance of their partnerships with the regional sector partnerships in their area. Dawn described the importance of being able to reach out to just one entity, Mark’s organization, when her companies need new workers or when she was developing training programs and needed to work with community colleges, unions or other stakeholders in the community. Matt added that Pat’s organization provides training before workers were on the job as well as support services once workers were employed, making it possible for his employers to increase productivity and be confident in the skills and retention of their workers.

Both employers also emphasized the importance of the partnerships connecting workers with supportive services. Pat described his organization’s provision of transportation services to new workers, a service that ensures workers can make it to their worksites.

Mark emphasized that while these services are vital to the retention of good workers and continued productivity for WRTP/Big Step’s business partners, work-based learning programming and support services can be expensive. He emphasized the importance of Congressional investments in current job training programs like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and including investment in workforce development in any upcoming Congressional infrastructure bill.

Together, they started a dialogue about the benefits of investing in human capital and how federal policy can support these innovative strategies.

Exposure and reach

Representatives from more than a dozen Congressional offices attended the briefing. While in DC, Pat and Matt met with Senator Ernst’s office about the importance of supporting workforce training and education programs and including these priorities in upcoming infrastructure legislation. The panelists also took a meeting with the Department of Transportation Senior Program Advisor, Marilyn Shazor, to explain how they have used sector partnerships to fill skilled positions in the industry.

President Trump visited Dawn and Mark’s home state of Wisconsin the day before the briefing to talk about jobs. In response to this visit and the President’s previous call to drastically cut federal investments in job training and education, Dawn and Mark spoke with the Washington Post about their reliance on federal investments to support infrastructure workforce pipelines. 

Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Career and Technical Education, Work Based Learning, Iowa, Wisconsin, Business Leaders United
President Trump Executive Order Calls for Apprenticeship Expansion, directs federal agencies to propose elimination of “ineffective” workforce training programs

Earlier today, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO), “Expanding Apprenticeships in America,” and announced a new initiative to expand apprenticeship in the U.S. The proposal would provide industry associations, unions, and other stakeholders the flexibility to develop standards for "industry-recognized apprenticeships" (that would complement the existing registered apprenticeship system).

The EO directs the Secretary of Labor, in cooperation with the Secretaries of Commerce and Education, to consider proposing new regulations to support the expansion of industry-recognized apprenticeships through the use of third-party certifying entities. Among other things, the regulations must reflect an assessment of whether to:

  • determine how qualified third parties may provide recognition to industry-recognized apprenticeship programs
  • establish guidelines or requirements that qualified third parties should or must follow to ensure that apprenticeship programs they recognize meet quality standards
  • whether to retain the current Registered Apprenticeship system for current employers; and
  • Establishing review process for industry-certified apprenticeships, including processes for terminating a program.

The Secretary is required to consider and evaluate public comments prior to issuing the new regulations, which will allow for stakeholders to provide input into any final rule.

The EO also establishes a new Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which would be chaired by the Secretary of Labor and co-chaired by the Secretaries of Education and Commerce, and would also include representatives from industry, labor, and educational institutions. The task force would be responsible for developing a report to the president detailing:

  • Federal initiatives that can expand apprenticeship;
  • Legislative and administrative reforms necessary to support expansion; and
  • Strategies to create and expand industry-recognized apprenticeships; and
  • Strategies to support private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.

The EO requires the Secretary to use available funding, including funds provided to the Department of Labor under the H-1B visa program, to promote apprenticeship, with a particular focus on expanding participation in apprenticeship for students in accredited secondary and postsecondary institutions, expanding apprenticeship in sectors without sufficient apprenticeship opportunities, and increasing youth participation in apprenticeship. The EO further calls on federal agencies to take steps to promote apprenticeships with targeted populations, including individuals who are currently or formerly incarcerated, disconnected youth, and veterans.

The Trump Administration’s focus on apprenticeship comes on the heels of efforts under President Obama to expand registered apprenticeship programs, including more than $250 million in grants and contracts to states, national intermediaries, and other stakeholders. The EO does not specifically address how the new initiative will be connected to those ongoing investments.

Overall, the president’s proposals with respect to apprenticeship are consistent with National Skills Coalition’s longstanding support for industry-driven partnerships that support work-based learning and other strategies to connect businesses and workers. While there is clearly much still to be decided prior to implementation – including how to ensure that new industry-certified programs meet quality standards and ensuring that workers continue to benefit from wage increases and other protections associated with traditional registered apprenticeship programs – the initiatives outlined in the EO appear to be a good first step toward our goal of getting to five million apprentices. National Skills Coalition looks forward to working with the administration and other stakeholders to make sure that this effort leads to the expansion of high quality programs that meet the needs of workers and employer partners.

Evaluating Federal Workforce and Education Programs

While the apprenticeship components of the EO were generally good, there were some troubling provisions relating to other federal workforce programs. The order directs all Federal agencies with jurisdiction over at least one job training program to evaluate the effectiveness of those programs, and proposes elimination of programs deemed to be “ineffective, redundant, or unnecessary.” In light of the president’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget which called for substantial cuts to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), and other workforce, education, and human services programs, the direction to propose further cuts or eliminations is a step in the wrong direction. These important federal programs fund the country's workforce and CTE system and although they have strong bipartisan support in Congress, they are already underfunded after more than a decade of cuts. This trend has frustrated small and medium-sized businesses who struggle to find skilled workers.

Under WIOA, registered apprenticeship programs are automatically eligible to access training funds provided through a state's eligible training provider list, registered apprenticeship representatives are required to participate in strategic and operational activities of the local and state workforce development boards, and reporting requirements are relaxed for these programs compared to the requirements for other training providers. These changes are intended to better align the workforce system with the apprenticeship system. President Trump’s proposed cuts to the workforce system, however, would impact state and local efforts to build these connections, and would likely undermine the administration’s efforts to increase apprenticeship utilization.

National Skills Coalition opposes any efforts to cut needed workforce and education investments, and we will continue to work with our national, state and local partners to resist further cuts to these vital services. 

Read the a statement from Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of NSC on the Expanding Apprenticeships in America Executive Order here.

Posted In: Career and Technical Education, Sector Partnerships, Federal Funding, Adult Basic Education, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Work Based Learning
National Skills Coalition, New America and partners move Apprenticeship Forward

On May 4th and 5th, National Skills Coalition and New America, along with seven other organizations and in consultation with the Departments of Education and Labor, brought together 600 leaders from the apprenticeship community at Apprenticeship Forward. We heard from business leaders championing apprenticeship, state leaders working to expand apprenticeship in their communities, education and training providers preparing students and workers for their new careers, and apprentices who showcased how well apprenticeship can connect skilled, passionate workers to willing companies.  Most importantly, each of the attendees contributed to the dialogue through discussion groups and engagement with each other throughout the two days.

Apprenticeship Forward was a first of its kind convening, intended to continue the momentum around expanding apprenticeship in the U.S. It focused on three critical challenges facing this expansion: increasing industry engagement across a range of sectors and firms; addressing equity issues while diversifying the apprenticeship pipeline; and implementing new public policies that can support industry’s taking apprenticeship to scale.

Even if you weren’t at the conference, there are a few ways for you to stay in touch and join in the work to move apprenticeship forward!

  1. Visit ApprenticeshipForward.org as we update the site to include videos, images, and other content from the conference partners and sponsors.
  2. Watch for Apprenticeship Forward follow-up in NSC emails to read about and connect with the apprenticeship efforts of conference partners.
  3. Continue the conversation on social media using the conference social media tool kit and your own success stories – we’ll be following #apprenticeship and #apprenticeshipworks.

Finally, an extra thank you to our Apprenticeship Forward sponsors: JPMorgan Chase & Co., Siemens Foundation, The  Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, and The JPB Foundation.   And kudos to the Departments of Labor and Education, as well as all our conference sponsors.

Posted In: Work Based Learning
Fifty-State Scan of State Work-Based Learning Policies

Across the country, employers are reporting a skills gap for middle-skill jobs that require some form of post high school education or training but not a bachelor’s degree. Employers report there are insufficient numbers of job applicants with the occupational/technical skills required for open middle-skill positions and that too many applicants lack critical “soft skills,” and have no relevant work experience. State policymakers have heard employers’ concerns and are seeking solutions.

One key strategy for filling these skill gaps is work-based learning programs like apprenticeship and career and technical education with a worksite component — programs that blend worksite and classroom learning to prepare workers with the skills employers need. This dual model of training has a long tradition of proven effectiveness. Yet, the scale of workbased learning, especially paid work-based learning, is limited in the United States.

Recognizing the value of work-based learning and the opportunity to spread work-based learning to more populations and sectors of the economy, states have adopted policies to help increase the scope of work-based learning opportunities.

National Skills Coalition (NSC) has scanned the fifty states and the District of Columbia to identify the policies that states have in place to support work-based learning that includes paid employment. Through the scan, NSC finds that:

Thirty-five states have a policy in place to support work-based learning.

  • Fourteen of these states have an expansion initiative that directs resources for state staff or other organizations to support the growth of work-based learning.
  • Eighteen of these states provide a subsidy to employers who participate in work-based learning.  Ten provide a grant or reimbursement to employers, and ten provide a tax credit. (Two states provide both.)
  • Fourteen of these states have a policy supporting pre-apprenticeships or youth apprenticeships.
  • At least eleven of these states have another type of policy to require or fund work experiences for secondary students that include paid work-based learning.
  • Nine of these states have a policy subsidizing postsecondary classroom instruction for apprentices.

The scan explains each type of work-based learning policy, identifies which states have work-based learning policies in place (including descriptions of those policies) and reveals which states have opportunities to adopt new policies. 

Posted In: Work Based Learning
National Stakeholders and Foundations Announce Apprenticeship Forward National Conference in May 2017

Following several years of new attention and expanded state and federal support, apprenticeships in the United States are growing and innovating in unprecedented ways. For example, the number of registered apprentices nationwide is approaching 500,000, up from just under 400,000 in early 2014.  Nevertheless, the work of extending apprenticeship to more industries and diversifying the range of youth and working adults who have access to these earn-and-learn opportunities has only just begun. 

To continue this momentum, a number of national workforce, education, industry, foundation and public agency leaders are working together to organize  a national convening about the current and future status of apprenticeship in the U.S.. The Apprenticeship Forward conference will take place on May 4-5, 2017 in Washington, DC, drawing on stakeholders from across the apprenticeship system – including industry associations and employers; unions and labor-management partnerships; community-based organizations; community colleges; high schools; and workforce boards—as well as policymakers from the new administration, the 115th Congress, and state governments from throughout the country.

The event is being developed through a unique collaboration between key national stakeholders, including National Skills Coalition, New America, Advance CTE, AFL-CIO Working for America Institute, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, National Governors Association, and Urban Institute. Other national partners will soon be added to fill out the planning committee. The event is being organized at the initiation of a number of national foundations, including Annie E. Casey Foundation, Joyce Foundation, JPB Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Siemens Foundation

The conference will focus on three critical challenges facing the expansion of apprenticeship:  increasing industry engagement across a range of sectors and firms; addressing equity while diversifying the apprenticeship pipeline; and designing and implementing new public policies that can take apprenticeship to scale. Apprenticeship Forward will feature engaging plenaries and breakout panels, as well as interactive discussions between attendees about their apprenticeship efforts within specific industries and well as with specific groups of students and prospective workers

Conference participants will work to

  • Sustain the momentum of a broad range of apprenticeship investment and interest through to the next administration and new Congress;
  • Provide the opportunities to new and existing stakeholders in the apprenticeship field to hear from experts;
  • Facilitate peer learning among stakeholders in the same industries, working to engage underrepresented populations, and advocating for public policies to support this work; and
  • Strengthen networks at both the state and federal levels, building on existing strengths and redefining the apprenticeship field.

Registration will open in January 2017. Apprenticeship Forward will be hosted at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

Please mark your calendar and join us this May in Washington, DC!

Posted In: Work Based Learning
DOL announces $50.5 million in Apprenticeship State Expansion Grants

On October 21st, Department of Labor announced $50.5 million in State Expansion Grants under the ApprenticeshipUSA Initiative. The 18-month grants, ranging from $700,000 to $2.7 million, were awarded to 37 grantees across the country.

Grantees are state projects that bring together stakeholders across the apprenticeship system – intermediaries, industry, education providers, community based organizations, etc. – to develop innovative system reforms to increase the use of apprenticeship as a training strategy. States are tasked with integrating workforce and education systems, building capacity to conduct outreach to new sectors not traditionally using apprenticeship and to populations underrepresented in the current system, and build on and develop practices to increase demand for apprenticeship and availability of apprenticeship opportunities.

The State Expansion Grants represent the final set of investments supported by a $90 million appropriation for apprenticeship in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 omnibus spending bill.  DOL had previously released $10.4 million in state Accelerator grants in June 2016, and $20.4 million in intermediary and equity technical assistance contracts to national organizations late last month.

It is unclear whether there will be further funding to support the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative next year. The Senate Appropriations Committee proposed an additional $100 million in FY2017 to build on this year’s investments; the House did not include additional funding in their version of the FY2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill. Congress approved a short-term continuing resolution in early October that lasts through December 9th, so final decisions on FY 2017 funding will be made once lawmakers return following the November election. National Skills Coalition supports continued funding for apprenticeship for youth and adults and other key education and workforce programs, and we look forward to working with the appropriations committees to ensure that investments in skills are a priority in the coming year.

States and Territories with projects under this grant are listed below:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
Posted In: Work Based Learning, Federal Funding
New paper highlights promising practices in work-based learning for youth

A new paper by National Skills Coalition and National Youth Employment Coalition finds that well-designed work-based learning opportunities can provide youth with occupational and work readiness training while providing income support for disconnected and at-risk youth. The paper examines four different work-based learning strategies, illustrates key elements of success, identifies challenges, and makes policy recommendations to address those challenges. 

The paper, entitled Promising Practices in Work-Based Learning for Youth is a companion piece to an upcoming Webinar on October 6 at 2pm EST. Click here to register.

Through conversations with youth intermediaries and employers, community-based organizations running youth programming, and youth participants, we concluded that work-based learning programs should provide the following elements to ensure success for both the participant in the program and the business for which they work:

  1. Paid work-based learning opportunities, with wages provided either through employer, provider, or combination of the two: By combining paid work with academic instruction, work-based learning makes it easier for youth participants to support themselves and their families while gaining skills and credentials that can translate into longer-term career advancement. 
  2. Strong partnerships with business and other community stakeholders: To realize the benefits from WBL, business partners must be engaged throughout the process of starting and running a program. The most successful programs also rely on partnerships with other stakeholders to deliver key educational or support services.
  3. Positive youth development and continued support services: Work-based learning requires significant investments in wages, education, and necessary partnerships among a variety of stakeholders. WBL may be even more expensive to deliver to youth participants because they often need more intense support services for a longer period of time than adults need in order to succeed
  4. Linkages to career pathways either through future employment opportunities or future education and training opportunities: Work-based learning can expose youth to different career opportunities, help them build work experience and a work history, increase understanding of the application of classroom learning on the jobsite, and connect them with adult mentors successfully working in their chosen industry.

While a number of youth serving organizations successfully provide work-based learning opportunities for youth, federal policy must better support these practices across the country to maximize the impact on our youth and our business capacity. NSC and NYEC recommend the following policy changes to better align the youth workforce development system with the needs of youth and business in their communities:

  1. Congress should increase funding for youth workforce development activities that facilitate WBL;
  2. The Administration should invest in intermediaries that facilitate expansion of work-based learning for youth;
  3. Congress should expand financial incentives to businesses participating in work-based learning; and
  4. Department of Labor should issue additional guidance for the workforce development system on working with employers hiring with out-of-school youth and at-risk youth.


Posted In: Work Based Learning
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