New America's apprenticeship advocacy cuts across educational silos and economic sectors

Organization Summary:

New America is a nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. The Center on Education & Skills at New America (CESNA) is a research and policy development program focused on the intersection of our higher education, job training, and workforce development systems. The Center is dedicated to building learning-based pathways to economic opportunity that can begin inside or outside of formal education. Housed within our broader Education Policy Program, the Center reaches across the traditional silos of higher education, K-12, apprenticeship, and workforce development to identify strategies for improving the quality of technical education and strengthening links between learning and work, and between schools and local economies.

Overview of Apprenticeship Efforts:

CESNA’s research and advocacy on apprenticeship spans a variety of occupations, workforce sectors, and policy environments.

In early December 2017, CESNA published Eight Recommendations for Connecting Apprenticeship and Higher Education, which laid out a set of policies to make it easier for apprentices to earn college degrees and for college students to be apprentices. Building on this work, the CESNA team has also worked directly with a variety of governors’ offices, state agencies, city officials, and community college leaders interested in strengthening connections between apprenticeship and education systems.

Our research on connecting apprenticeship to formal educational pathways has provided the foundation for an ambitious, multi-year, multi-funder initiative to expand high school students’ access to apprenticeship. The Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) brings together six national organizations with expertise on apprenticeship, secondary education, higher education, and workforce development. PAYA will work with states and communities across the United States to develop the partnerships and policies necessary to build high-quality apprenticeship programs that connect to youth to higher education and good jobs.

Yet expanding apprenticeship programs for high school students raises a host of complicated equity questions around how to ensure that programs do not reinforce educational and economic inequality. To elevate the importance of equity concerns within current state and local efforts to expand youth apprenticeship and to inform the work of the PAYA, CESNA is engaged in ongoing work to understand and document the equity risks and opportunities of youth apprenticeship. CESNA’s work includes researching the intersections between apprenticeship and civil rights issues within secondary and postsecondary education, identifying and engaging civil rights organizations in equity dialogues about youth apprenticeship, and convening youth apprenticeship experts and practitioners to assess how equity concerns inform program design and implementation.

CESNA has been expanding our research on apprenticeship in the healthcare, cybersecurity, and early education sectors. With the support of the Joyce Foundation and JP Morgan Chase & Co., CESNA is conducting research and engaging in conversation on using apprenticeship to prepare registered nurses and other allied healthcare workers. Its report, Apprenticeship and the Future of Nursing, explores how apprenticeship can help the nursing profession achieve its professional development goal of increasing the share of registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree to 80 percent without sacrificing the racial and ethnic diversity of the workforce. A host of cybersecurity apprenticeships are connecting workers to well-paying jobs across the country, as CESNA’s collaboration with New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative shows. CESNA’s research also highlights promising degree-apprenticeship programs in early education that encourage higher credential attainment in the workforce while reducing time and cost barriers to earning a degree.

Additionally, CESNA is developing a state apprenticeship policy agenda based on comprehensive research on promising practices for aligning the work of state education, workforce, and economic development agencies for youth and adults.