Since 2008, Maher & Maher has worked with the Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Apprenticeship (OA) on multiple training and technical assistance efforts designed to expand the use of apprenticeship as a proven talent development strategy and connect apprenticeship programs with a variety of partners and industries. These projects include:
- Apprenticeship and WIOA Integration
- Industry Engagement to Advance Apprenticeship
- Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship Support
- Training for Apprenticeship Representatives
Apprenticeship and WIOA Integration
Apprenticeship is one of the oldest and most respected training models in history. Apprenticeship’s effective model of combining on-the-job training and classroom instruction while the worker earns a viable wage and performs valuable work for the employer is a key training strategy that benefits both workers and businesses. However, the challenge is that apprenticeship is not consistently utilized nation-wide by the public workforce system, which is the government’s primary deliverer of front-line employment and training services and benefits. The implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which promotes apprenticeship as an effective work-based learning model, provides a new opportunity to expand the use of apprenticeship.
OA came to Maher & Maher to support their efforts to expand the use of apprenticeship programs by the public workforce system. The goals of this effort are to promote partnerships between the apprenticeship and workforce systems, help workforce practitioners integrate apprenticeship into services for employers and job seekers at the local level, and ultimately achieve greater expansion of apprenticeship programs as a Maher has helped OA to accomplish these goals through a variety of training and technical assistance strategies, including:
- In 2015, Maher is working with OA to develop a comprehensive on-line apprenticeship toolkit for the public workforce system that promotes the advancement of apprenticeship under WIOA. From on-line tutorials to a partnership planning tool, from models of success to desk aids for front-line workforce staff, the toolkit will provide actionable tools and resources to help the workforce system fully adopt apprenticeship and increase outcomes for business and job seeker customers.
- In 2008, Maher worked with OA on a series of three on-site Action Clinics, which brought together key apprenticeship, workforce, education, and business partnership stakeholders. The goals accomplished at the Action Clinics were: providing education about recently revised apprenticeship regulations; making each partner knowledgeable about the other partners and what they have to offer, and encouraging the use of cross-funding; and putting steps into place for greater and more purposeful interaction in order to work together to better accomplish each partner’s goals, while simultaneously accomplishing the ultimate overarching goal of re-training and re-employing America’s workers.
- Following the Action Clinics, OA engaged Maher to provide ongoing technical assistance to continue the collaboration that began at the clinics. Maher built the very first “true” online Community of Practice (CoP) for the Department of Labor, which has subsequently become a model after which other government agencies fashion their web presences. The Registered Apprenticeship CoP is unique and incredibly valuable in that it virtually brings together stakeholders across the nation. E-learning tools and other resources that Maher helped to produce to support the apprenticeship and workforce system integration effort, such as case study videos, self-paced training courses, and webinars, can all be found on the CoP site. Since its initial launch in 2009, the Registered Apprenticeship CoP has provided a robust and interactive space for apprenticeship stakeholders to learn from one another, share useful resources and successful models, and advance their apprenticeship efforts and activities.
Industry Engagement to Advance Apprenticeship
Apprenticeship is an industry-driven model that is flexible and effective at helping businesses recruit, train, and retain a highly-skilled workforce. Despite the benefits for businesses, apprenticeship has traditionally been used in construction and other skilled trades, and is just beginning to see growth in other industry sectors. OA has engaged Maher to help support their industry engagement efforts and to accelerate the expansion of apprenticeship programs in diverse industries and occupations.
- In 2014, Maher facilitated a series of six Industry Roundtables for OA as a precursor to a first-ever White House Summit on American Apprenticeship. Maher helped to engage with industry to bring businesses to the table, as well as provided logistical support and develop meeting materials. Each of the roundtables focused on a growth industry sector: Transportation and Logistics, Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, Energy, and Construction. Business participants learned from OA and from each other about how apprenticeship meets a variety of talent development needs, and OA received valuable feedback from employers about the benefits and challenges to utilizing apprenticeship. As a conclusion to the Industry Roundtables, the White House hosted a summit to bring together employers across all industries, workforce and education leaders, and other key stakeholders.
- In 2015, Maher is supporting ETA in the launch of a new industry engagement initiative – Sectors of Excellence in Apprenticeship (SEA). The SEA initiative will bring together business leaders in the targeted industries mentioned above to help accelerate the expansion of apprenticeship across the country. Starting with a series of 6 regional meetings, and then a national meeting to be convened in Washington, DC, industry leaders will work with OA to identify key occupations that can benefit from the apprenticeship training model, and then design apprenticeship programs that can be adopted industry-wide. Maher is supporting this effort through agenda development, facilitation, materials development, and logistical support.
- Maher has also supported OA’s industry engagement efforts by developing a number of targeted resources for businesses. For example, Maher created an Apprenticeship Quick-start Toolkit, which provides clear steps and useful resources to help businesses develop and launch apprenticeship programs, and developed a set of Solutions for Industry fact sheets to highlight how apprenticeship can meet the workforce needs of specific industries.
Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship Support
The Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) is an advisory board that provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on a variety of matters facing the Registered Apprenticeship system. The ACA is comprised of 30 individuals that represent labor unions, employers, and members of the public. Historically, the ACA has played an important advisory role in the development of recommendations related to expanding and promoting apprenticeship.
Maher partnered with OA to facilitate the work of the Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) by:
- Supporting the development of innovative education and outreach strategies designed to increase public awareness of apprenticeship;
- Providing facilitation and staff support to several key ACA workgroups;
- Enhancing, updating, and maintaining the committee website;
- Providing program and content design for key events sponsored by the ACA; and
- Offering planning, logistical, and facilitation services to support the Office of Apprenticeship to convene the Secretary’s ACA for several in-person and virtual meetings each year.
With Maher’s assistance, the ACA was instrumental in facilitating several major activities that helped to define the future of apprenticeship in America, including:
- OA published revised federal regulations for apprenticeship, which provided new options and increased flexibility for sponsors of apprenticeship programs.
- The ACA facilitated efforts to begin expanding apprenticeship into several new directions, focusing on healthcare, manufacturing, and energy, which resulted in several new apprenticeship programs.
- OA issued a Training and Employment Notice (TEN) to the entire public workforce system, encouraging greater collaboration and partnership, based on the recommendations produced by the ACA.
- The ACA facilitated an ongoing consortium between the U.S. Departments of Labor (USDOL) and Education, several two- and four-year educational institutions, and apprenticeship program sponsors, who came together to facilitate the awarding of college credit to apprentices.
- The ACA provided policy guidance and recommendations on a quality “pre-apprenticeship” framework, which has resulted in the production of a TEN on pre-apprenticeship, and also several listening sessions and a white paper on collaboration between apprenticeship and community-based organizations.
- The ACA formed a consortium including members of the ACA, YouthBuild grantees, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the USDOL YouthBuild Office, to encourage greater partnerships between apprenticeship program sponsors and YouthBuild grantees.
- A 75th Anniversary National Education Action Summit was held in 2012. This event provided a dynamic environment for sharing the ACA’s recommendations and fostering dialogue among diverse stakeholders around opportunities to accelerate utilization of apprenticeship as a workforce and education solution in the 21st century.
Training for Apprenticeship Representatives
Maher provided support to OA to help identify training resources for Apprenticeship Training Representatives (ATRs). As part of this project, Maher conducted a thorough resource and training needs assessment. From this assessment, Maher identified the following needs for training resources which were developed for OA:
- A comprehensive Training Guide for all OA State Office ATRs;
- A standardized set of tools to provide proactive and helpful assistance to all potential and existing apprenticeship program sponsors; and
- A series of podcasts to enhance the Training Guide and create a blended learning approach