Many states have enacted policies to increase the scope of work-based learning that combines instruction at a worksite with classroom learning. Few of these state policies, however, focus on low-skilled populations of out-of-school youth or disadvantaged adults. NSC’s scan, for example, found that among the 14 states that have policies supporting pre-apprenticeships or youth apprenticeships, all 14 states target in-school youth. While disadvantaged adults may be among those who benefit in the 26 states that have work-based learning policies that support adult training, very few of these policies specifically target disadvantaged adults.
NSC’s new policy toolkit focuses on state policies designed to make work-based learning more widely available and successful for disadvantaged populations. The toolkit also emphasizes policies to make work-based learning more available and effective for small- and medium-size employers. The toolkit concentrates on work-based learning that combines instruction at a worksite during paid employment with classroom education, and that culminates in an industry-recognized credential. Workers in paid work-based learning programs obtain skills and credentials while earning a wage. This is especially important for disadvantaged individuals with immediate financial needs.
The toolkit contains:
- An explanation of the key policies that support the growth of work-based learning for out-of-school youth and disadvantaged adults;
- Examples of current state policies and local practices that expand work-based learning for out-of-school youth and disadvantaged adults; and,
- A legislative template for state work-based learning policies that target out-of-school youth and disadvantaged adults.
Policymakers and advocates can use this toolkit to:
- Inform decisions on establishing or expanding state policies that support work-based learning;
- Learn from other state and local community examples; and
- Develop legislation that establishes or expands work-based learning.
The toolkit presents five policy components:
- A grant program to fund work-based learning intermediaries;
- A support fund to aid disadvantaged populations engaged in work-based learning or preparing for work-based learning;
- Grants for small employers to assist with the cost of starting and managing new apprenticeships;
- A tax credit for employers employing apprentices, with an enhanced credit for apprentices from disadvantaged populations; and,
- A tuition waiver for apprentices’ postsecondary classroom instruction, and a requirement that this instruction articulate with certificates and degrees.
NSC recommends that a state enact all five components to establish a robust policy of supporting work-based learning for out-of-school youth and disadvantaged adults.