“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.
[According to the authors,] one…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.…Yet, the scale of work-based 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.
[The authors] …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” (p.2).
“In order for a state policy to count, state statute, administrative policy, or a state plan (such as the state plan under the Perkins Act), must direct the policy. Funding counts as a policy. The policy must be statewide in scope, although actual funding may be insufficient to cover all areas of a state. Funding that is from a one-time federal, philanthropic, or other non-state grant does not count. Pilot programs do not count unless they will be in place in 2017.…The policies need not be limited to paid, work-based learning, but they must be inclusive of it” (p.5).
The resource summarizes the state-by-state results of this scan, conducted in early 2017, so that researchers, policymakers, and practitioners can easily view each state’s work-based learning policies.
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)
Major Findings & Recommendations
The authors “have categorized state policies into five main categories: expansion initiatives, employer subsidies that may be either grants or tax credits, support for pre-apprenticeships or youth apprenticeships, other secondary student work-based learning policies, and policies supporting postsecondary classroom instruction for apprenticeships. These categories do not cover every type of state policy or program that supports work-based learning. For instance, this scan does not include the regular administration of registered apprenticeship programs. The scan focuses on state policies, particularly policies that have become more prevalent in recent years, designed to make work-based learning more widely available” (p.4). The report includes profiles of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia arranged in alphabetical order. Each profile lists whether the state has any of the five main work-based learning policies in place and describes briefly how those policies are implemented in the state. The authors also present key findings across states: • “State work-based learning policies: The vast majority of states have at least one type of work-based learning policy. There are thirty-five states with a state policy supporting work-based learning. Twenty-six of these states have a work-based learning policy that supports adult training. • Expansion initiatives: Fourteen of these states direct resources for state staff or other organizations to support the growth of work-based learning. • Employer subsidies: 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 provides both). • Pre-apprenticeships or youth apprenticeships: Fourteen of these states have policies supporting pre-apprenticeships or youth apprenticeships. • Other secondary student work-based learning policies: At least eleven of these states have another type of policy to require or fund work experiences for secondary students that include work-based learning. • Subsidized postsecondary instruction for apprentices: Nine of these states have a policy subsidizing postsecondary classroom instruction for apprentices” (p.5). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)