In this time of economic uncertainty, states, program sponsors, RTI providers, and other apprenticeship partners are employing a variety of strategies to support apprentices and sponsors.

Below are examples of actions some Apprenticeship State Expansion (ASE) and State Apprenticeship Expansion (SAE) grantees took in March and April that might stimulate ideas for others about effectively responding to the new dynamics. We have also included additional resources at the bottom of this post.

Promising Practices from ASE and SAE Grantees:

Ways to Support Apprentices

  • Reach out to apprentices to assess their need for supportive services and connect them with resources

  • Use social media to keep users informed about available resources and continue to market apprenticeship to potential apprentices. 

  • Continue to think of innovative ways to support remote learning such as loaning books to apprentices so they can do self-study at home and creating online learn resources to train program participants on computer and technology skills since some have had limited exposure.

Ways to Support Business Customers

Connect with Sponsors. Connect directly with sponsors via phone or email to assess impact and offer assistance during the crisis.  The goal here is to build the relationship with care to support but not overwhelm.Topics for discussion might include:

  • Ensuring they have up-to-date information on services such as tax credits and layoff aversion grants that can assist with retaining apprentices. 

  • Helping them with any questions regarding which jobs are considered essential and make sure those job lists get posted.

  • Sharing strategies for providing additional support to mentors during this time.  Some good resources are available at this national mentor partnership website.

  • Offering to support efforts to transition to virtual RTI, such as assessing training provider capacity and exploring technology needs of apprentices.

Provide information tailored for sponsors, such as:

  • Posting FAQs for sponsors on their state website. For example, see North Carolina’s ApprenticeshipNC web page on “Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and Apprenticeship.

  • Offering webinars with optimistic messaging in outreach to employers, e.g., on how home-based training can be a good fit for companies.

Adjust business outreach strategies.

  • Monitor for changing labor market trends by utilizing job postings and real-time labor market data to determine if businesses are currently hiring for apprenticeable occupationsThere might be an opportunity to engage new employers who have urgent needs. 

  • Maintain communication with state workforce boards to better understand changes at the local level.  

  • Reach out to inactive program sponsors to connect with them to available resources and opportunities that they might not have known about so their companies can remain viable, including those available under the CARES Act.  

  • Rebrand apprenticeship as an opportunity for workers to “reskill” and revamp apprenticeship websites to focus on career exploration and skill development for those in need of a career change. 

  • Provide social distancing-friendly information sessions such as virtual outreach events to potential sponsors, e.g., a virtual lunch and learn. 

Internal Adjustments and Enhancements

  • Strengthen administrative procedures to prepare for apprenticeship growth during economic recovery.

  • Use any slowdown in apprenticeship activity to address important but “back burner” priorities like updating procedures, staff trainingand creating online tools and resources. 

Resources to support your work during this time of economic uncertainty: