PAYA Awards Nine Grants to Expand Youth Apprenticeships

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 12:57 pm EDT

Last week, the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), in partnership with the Siemens Foundation and five other national funders, awarded nine grants in the nation’s first joint philanthropic investment to expand youth apprenticeship in the United States. The grantees will use the funding to launch and expand high-quality programs for high-school students in multiple cities, regions, and states, and in a variety of industries.

More specifically, the grants will support strategy development and implementation activities at these locations over a 17-month period. During that time, grantees will engage in cross-site learning and receive tailored technical assistance from PAYA National Partners, leading experts in the education, workforce, and policy sectors.

Launched in late 2018, and led by New America, PAYA’s mission is to scale high-school apprenticeship programs across the country by convening experts and partners, supporting a community of practitioners, publishing research, and providing grants and direct assistance. In partnering with PAYA, the Siemens Foundation is extending its work to close the opportunity gap for young adults by advancing STEM-driven education and workforce development. As David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation wrote, “This initiative will bring greater awareness and participation in youth apprenticeships in the U.S., provide businesses with a strong pipeline of talent, and lead young adults to a wider range of career and college opportunities.”

Youth apprenticeship transforms how the nation’s education system prepares young people — regardless of their background or zip code — to enter successful careers through mutually beneficial partnerships across schools, industry, and communities. These partnerships, like the PAYA initiative, create opportunities for apprentices to finish high school, start their postsecondary education at little-to-no cost, complete paid-work experience alongside a mentor, and start along a path that broadens their options for the future.

For employers, youth apprenticeship is a cost-effective talent strategy, as apprentices build skills to meet evolving business needs and develop into valued contributors to their bottom line. Youth apprenticeship connects student learning and job preparation with the talent needs of industry, all while reducing student debt burden, increasing postsecondary attainment, and ensuring that success in the classroom leads to success in the workforce.

Ultimately, such efforts create benefits throughout industry and society, as Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA wrote, “As the labor market continues to tighten, employers are looking for workers with the skills they need to grow their business. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we see this time as an opportunity to open new doors for America’s young people and renew the American dream.”

Across the country, the Siemens Foundation continues to work in collaboration with fellow PAYA partners and funders to leverage apprenticeships to close the skills gap and develop a 21st century workforce. Together, they’ll match employers’ need for skilled workers with the societal need to increase access to college and fulfilling, well-paying jobs. 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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