Expanding High School Apprenticeship to Expand College and Career Success

Friday, October 26, 2018 12:40 pm EDT

By:

David Etzwiler, CEO, Siemens Foundation
  • The Siemens Foundation is a founding partner of the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeships (PAYA), announced today.
  • PAYA’s mission is to scale high school apprenticeships.
  • Youth apprenticeship is a key strategy for building a more inclusive economy and increasing access to college and best-in-class jobs.

Apprenticeship is not a new term, yet their relevance is timeless, and their application is limitless. They’re being revived and reinvented across America today because they hold the key to success in the digital economy by combining college and career success.

Now is the perfect time to pursue the next frontier for U.S. apprenticeships: expanding this quality program to America’s high schools.  

This is exactly what the Siemens Foundation is doing today as a proud founding partner of the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA). Launched today in partnership with New America and several other leading organizations, PAYA is a multi-year initiative that supports efforts in states and cities to expand access to high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for high school age youth.

PAYA’s mission is to scale high school apprenticeship programs in states and cities across the country by convening experts and partners, supporting a community of practitioners, publishing research, and providing grants and direct assistance.

Why is this important right now?

Simply put, access to American education, essential to economic mobility, is constricting. At the same time, the next generation of workers will be required to have postsecondary credentials, strong technical skills, and excellent professional skills more and more to get the jobs of the 21st century. Further, the current approaches to educating young Americans provide few opportunities for employers to connect with a rising generation of diverse talent.

To compete and grow, employers need to build a sustainable pipeline of workers with adaptable skills, especially as the American economy is creating well-paying jobs in STEM fields like information technology, energy, health care and advanced manufacturing. Without a successful strategy in place, companies will miss out on talent. In fact, at a recent Bloomberg event, Seema Pajula, vice chairman and U.S. industries and insights leader at Deloitte LLP, revealed that over the next 10 years, 2.4 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled because of a skills shortage – equating to $400 billion in manufacturing output.

Youth apprenticeship is a key strategy for building a more inclusive economy and increasing access to college and best-in-class jobs. It connects student learning and job preparation with the talent needs of industry, all while reducing student debt burden, increasing postsecondary attainment and ensuring success in the classroom also leads to career success.

The Siemens Foundation’s participation in PAYA is an extension of our work to close the opportunity gap for young adults by advancing STEM-driven education and workforce development. Over the last 10 years, our foundation has invested more than $115 million in STEM education and workforce development initiatives. And in 2015, we launched the STEM Middle-Skill Initiative with a long-term commitment to advancing STEM workforce development.

Across the country, we’ll work in collaboration with our fellow PAYA partners and funders to leverage apprenticeships to close the skills gap, develop a 21st century workforce, and close the opportunity gap, as well. Together, we’ll match employers’ need for skilled workers with the societal need to increase access to college and fulfilling, well-paying jobs. I’m confident this initiative will bring greater awareness and participation in youth apprenticeships in the U.S., that it will provide businesses with a strong pipeline of talent, and that it will lead young adults to a wider range of career and college opportunities.

To learn more about PAYA, visit: www.newamerica.org/paya and follow the hashtag #PAYA to stay up-to-date on the initiative.

 

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