Starting, Supporting, and Scaling Youth Apprenticeship: Tools to Accelerate the Work of Partnerships in the Field

PAYA National Partners release resources to support and advance high-quality youth apprenticeship across the U.S.
Blog Post
March 4, 2020

Youth apprenticeship links the learning needs of youth with the talent demands of employers, through public-private partnerships that bring together schools, industry and government. Partnerships can take many forms and exist at multiple levels within a state, region, or local community, but always demand commitment, leadership, and support—not only from core partners but also from the communities and broader systems in which they operate.

Since launching in 2018, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) has been working to better understand and support dynamic youth apprenticeship partnerships across the country. Understanding how these partnerships develop, adapt, and thrive is key to expanding the number of high-quality youth apprenticeships across the U.S.

That's why over the past year the PAYA National Partners have led an effort to develop a collection of tools to help communities develop and expand these partnerships and the youth apprenticeship opportunities they make possible.

Informed by our work supporting the PAYA Network, this collection of resources will support educators, employers, policymakers, and other key stakeholders to:

  • Assess community assets and readiness for building youth apprenticeship partnerships;
  • Engage key state leaders in setting a vision and policies for youth apprenticeship;
  • Identify and develop the capacity of intermediary organizations to support youth apprenticeship programs.

Summaries and links to these resources can be found below.

Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Youth Apprenticeship Programs

With this JFF resource, local, state, and regional entities can gauge their current capacity to establish a high-quality system for youth apprenticeships. Teams can use this tool to understand if they have the appropriate leadership, partnership, and program supports needed to develop a program. “Youth apprenticeships are emerging as a growing strategy in communities across the nation to increase access to college and career. But high-quality youth apprenticeships require an ecosystem of support around young people, which demands strong partnerships,” said Andrea Messing-Mathie, program director at JFF. “In order to understand the strength and weaknesses in that ecosystem, JFF developed the assessment and planning tool to help communities address critical foundational issues in developing, planning, and implementing high-quality youth apprenticeship programs. This tool will help communities leverage their best assets to support the programs that make the most difference for families and students.”

How Governors Scale High-Quality Youth Apprenticeship

Governors are prioritizing youth apprenticeship programs to connect more young people to career paths, while filling businesses’ unmet workforce needs. They are also exploring ways to guide development and expansion of these programs. This National Governors Association Center for Best Practices white paper explores three strategies that governors can use to expand youth apprenticeship, drawing from the experiences of four states. “We are helping to share actionable, scalable plans that governors and other state leaders can advance to address the skills gap and secure a bright future for all of the people of their states.” said Martin Simon, Economic Opportunity division director for the NGA Center for Best Practices.

The Role of Data and Accountability in Growing Youth Apprenticeship Programs

There are many challenges that currently inhibit the ability of state and local communities to collect and use reliable youth apprenticeship data, which is critical to make the case for high-quality apprenticeship programs. Additionally, it is this data that best supports program improvement and growth. To explore how states are collecting data on youth apprenticeship programs, and what steps can be taken to collect high-quality enrollment and outcomes data, Advance CTE examined current practices in The Role of Data and Accountability in Growing Youth Apprenticeship Programs. This report features information on how states are collecting and validating youth apprenticeship and work-based learning data, and what steps can be taken to expand quantitative and qualitative data collection that would support program development and expansion. "Youth apprenticeship programs can give students access to valuable work-based learning experiences that provide insights into how their interest can connect to education and the workforce," said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. "Although these programs are often beneficial for participants, there is little data to show the programmatic landscape and impact. We hope this resource provides insight into how to tackle this important challenge."

The Critical Role of Intermediary Organizations in Expanding Youth Apprenticeship

Across the work-based learning spectrum, intermediary organizations provide needed capacity and services to manage and scale programs that make high-quality opportunities accessible to more young people. This report released by Education Strategy Group (ESG) introduces a road map for organizations and institutions interested in launching, growing, and maintaining an intermediary organization to provide youth apprenticeship programs in partnership with states and local communities. The report is grounded in interviews conducted with nearly a dozen established intermediaries that vary in geographic scope, scale, and type of work-based learning opportunity. “Work-based learning empowers students to apply their classroom learning to real-world problems and develop the professional skills they will need to succeed in today’s highly technical and ever-changing economy,” says Kathleen Mathers, Principal at ESG. “Intermediary organizations are critical in making these valuable experiences more widely available to students. The capacity and partnership that intermediaries provide enables youth apprenticeship programs to reach their full potential."

Later this spring and throughout the year ahead, PAYA will continue to expand this collection of resources. Please check back soon for forthcoming resources, including a toolkit from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity and the PAYA Data Framework for High-Quality Youth Apprenticeship. In the meantime, you can read about innovative members of the PAYA Network—and the strategies, conditions, and supports that make them successful—in our monthly Network Member profiles.

Related Topics
Youth Apprenticeship