The Case for State Investment in Youth Apprenticeship Programs

Our newest brief, released in partnership with the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), explores the current landscape around state funding models to support youth apprenticeship (YA) programs. Equipping state and local Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders with the knowledge and tools to advance YA programs aligns with Advance CTE’s vision for each learner’s skills to be counted, valued, and portable.

YA programs are an important component of a fully developed career preparation ecosystem. High-quality YA programs allow learners to explore career pathways and develop skills that are relevant to industry needs to improve the overall health of the local economy. State Funding Models to Support Youth Apprenticeships evaluates the landscape of state YA funding models and highlights practices in Georgia, Michigan, Utah and to equip states to adopt funding strategies that enable these programs to be fully embedded in states’ career preparation ecosystems. 

Benefits for State Investment 

States are uniquely positioned to invest in and implement high-quality YA programs, and in doing so can systematically expand access to and quality of growing YA programs. These investments allow learners to access a complete spectrum of work-based learning experiences to gain in-demand skills and credentials and enter the labor market prepared for the world of work.

Additionally, investment at the state level is a strong signal to industry to initiate or expand employer participation in these programs.1 Employers in IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, business, finance, education, and many other industries have found that YA delivers a positive return on their investment by helping them build a pipeline of young, diverse talent and fostering a culture of learning and innovation that attracts and retains employees.2

States have the power to align CTE programs of study with YA programs to create seamless pathways for learners and in some cases earn college credit simultaneously. For example: 

  • In Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Labor administers the Manufacturing Innovation Fund Apprenticeship program, which was first launched in 2015 as part of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s $30 million Manufacturing Innovation Fund.
  • North Carolina’s apprenticeship programs are implemented by ApprenticeshipNC, a program housed within the North Carolina Community College System. For FY 2022–24, $11.6 million dollars was allocated from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to expand apprenticeship programs to learners ages 16–25 to increase the enrollment of learners within under-served populations at state community colleges.3
  • Last year, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) announced $1 million in available grant funding to encourage the development of Degree Apprenticeship structures that integrate paid on-the-job learning with credit-bearing classroom education.4

In State Funding Models to Support Youth Apprenticeships, we also share findings on how states are providing funding for work-based learning programs and make recommendations for how state investment in YA programs represents a critical part of the career preparation ecosystem. 

For more information about PAYA’s work and resources for building your own YA program, visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

  1. Hanks, A., Gurwitz, E.(February 2016) How States Are Expanding Apprenticeship. Center for American Progress.
  2. Hwange, J. (June 2020). Why Should Employers Invest in Youth Apprenticeship?: INFOGRAPHIC. New America. 
  3. North Carolina Community College System. (2022). Funding approved to expand registered apprenticeships.,hour%20for%20high%20school%20students 
  4. New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development. (January, 2022) NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development Announces $1M in Grant Funds to Support Degree Apprenticeship Programs. Department of Labor & Workforce Development,and%20award%20college%20credits%20retroactively.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.