What is Youth Apprenticeship? Definition and Guiding Principles for High-Quality Programs

Building on national research and experience, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship's principles lay out a vision for designing effective and equitable programs—and for measuring their success.
Blog Post
CareerWise Colorado
Oct. 31, 2018

Youth apprenticeship is growing in states and communities across the country, but today’s landscape of youth apprenticeship programs is fragmented, with significant variation in program design and quality. This fragmentation complicates efforts by industry and education partners to start and lead efforts in communities and states, and sends mixed signals to students, parents, policymakers, and community leaders about the experience and outcomes of youth apprenticeship programs.

That’s why the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) came together to develop guiding principles for high-quality youth apprenticeship. Building on New America’s 2017 research on the youth apprenticeship landscape, these principles define the quality characteristics required to adequately serve the many stakeholders in youth apprenticeship—above all, learners—and the outcomes that can be used to measure success.

Defining Principles for High-Quality Youth Apprenticeship

  • Career-oriented: Learning is structured around knowledge, skills, and competencies that lead to careers with family-supporting wages.
  • Equitable: Learning is accessible to every student, with targeted supports for those adversely impacted by long-standing inequities in our education system and labor market.
  • Portable: Learning leads to postsecondary credentials and transferable college credit that expand options for students.
  • Adaptable: Learning is designed collaboratively to be recognized and valued across an industry or sector.
  • Accountable: Student, employer, and program outcomes are monitored using transparent metrics to support improvement.

Read more about each principle and their related outcomes in the full document here.

Grounded in research and experience, these principles are intended to be both practical and aspirational. They provide clear guidance to industry, education, and community leaders, and state and local policymakers, while at the same time setting a high bar for program design, outcomes, and continuous improvement.

The Partnership’s members believe youth apprenticeship has the potential to transform how the nation’s education system prepares young people for careers and a successful adulthood. Making this vision a reality demands a shared understanding of what youth apprenticeship is and which outcomes for students, employers, and communities will determine success. That’s why these principles will guide PAYA’s activities, bringing together the efforts of educators, employers, policymakers, and researchers. Read on below to see how you can get involved.

Get Engaged with PAYA

Over the coming years, the above principles will guide the efforts of PAYA and its partners to support leaders and systems in states and cities as they expand access to high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for high school age youth. PAYA will convene experts and partners, support a community of practitioners, publish research, and provide grants and direct assistance to promising youth apprenticeship programs in cities and states across the U.S.

Want to stay in engaged with PAYA? We want to hear from you! Whether you are a current apprenticeship practitioner or just interested in youth apprenticeship, please let us know here. You can also receive regular updates by signing up for our email newsletter (select "CESNA Update").

Related Topics
Youth Apprenticeship