Presents findings on apprenticeship program design, occupations, and participant diversity from a survey of 38 community colleges; and recommends four areas of focus for organizations partnering with community colleges to expand apprenticeship initiatives.

“The apprenticeship system is evolving….The two significant goals that have emerged involve broadening the roles of apprenticeship partners and increasing college credit earned through apprenticeships. Community colleges are natural partners in these efforts because apprenticeship programs offer a way to stay relevant to the future of work and education at a time of declining enrollment in technical programs.

Consequently, there has been a surge in community college involvement in apprenticeships….This brief provides preliminary lessons about [this involvement,] collected through a survey and select interviews from 38 colleges that are workforce development leaders” (p.1).

“While the survey respondents represent a small percentage of community colleges that are active in delivering apprenticeships, these findings provide a window into the potential role of schools in expanding and diversifying apprenticeship, as well as the support they need to achieve these goals” (p.7).

The 38 survey respondents represent 13 states. Twenty-two colleges represent urban areas (either large or midsize cities), nine are in rural areas, and one answered on behalf of a statewide system. Colleges were of varying sizes: seven have enrollment over 40,000; six have enrollment between 20, 000-39,999; six have enrollment of 10,000- 19,999; four between 5,000-9,999; and eight under 4,999 students” (p.8).

“What is Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is model of workforce training that allows employees to earn while they learn. These programs generally last from one to six years and include a combination of on-the-job training and formal classroom instruction. Registered apprentices earn progressively increasing wages and an industry-recognized credential. Apprenticeships can be overseen either by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship or by a State Apprenticeship Agency, while employers and other sponsors administer individual apprenticeship programs” (p.1).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The authors present survey findings under three headings: 1. “Current Apprenticeship Activity in Community Colleges” (p.2). a. “Of the 38 colleges responding to the survey, 84 percent participate as a partner in an apprenticeship program” (p.2). b. “Two-thirds of responding colleges operate apprenticeship programs from academic departments on the credit side of the institution, while only 11 percent are located within the noncredit or continuing education division. The remaining colleges operate apprenticeship programs jointly with both credit and noncredit departments” (p.2). 2. “Poised to Increase Apprenticeship Diversity” (p.3). a. “Only 6.8 percent of new apprentices in federally administered programs in 2016 were women and approximately one-third were people of color. In addition, the average starting age of an apprentice is 28” (p.3). b. “The…greatest challenges in supporting underrepresented student populations in apprenticeship programs relate to attracting students to these opportunities” (p.3). 3. “Expanding Apprenticeships at Community Colleges” (p.4). a. “Forty-five percent of respondents participate in construction trades apprenticeships….[Sixty-nine percent] of community colleges are engaged in manufacturing….Health care and transportation/logistics are the only other two sectors with over 10 percent of respondents engaged, at 20 and 16 percent, respectively” (p.4). b. “Over 75 percent of survey respondents also express interest in exploring the emerging apprenticeship sectors of IT, banking/finance, and management” (p.4). “Based on the experiences of these colleges, [the authors] recommend that organizations partnering with community colleges focus their apprenticeship technical assistance and capacity building efforts on several areas: • Support robust outreach, recruitment, and retention of underrepresented apprentices” (p.7). • “Focus on establishing apprenticeship programs in non-traditional occupations where college interest is greatest, such as IT, banking/finance, and management” (p.7). • “Tailor effective employer engagement strategies to a community college audience….Potential topics…include articulating a business case for apprenticeship and diversity, utilizing consultative sales methods to engage business leaders, and apprenticeship design strategies that make it easier for employers to sign up” (p.7). • “Develop community college organizational capacities to enhance and sustain apprenticeships” (p.7). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)