Bridging the Gap Between Community College Grads and Employers

Bridging the Gap Between Community College Grads and Employers

Apprenticeship Programs Provide Critical Training And Resources For Both Students And Employers.

Surveys and studies concur: The skills gap between what college grads offer employers and what grads actually need to succeed in their new careers is very real.

The American Association of Community Colleges issued a report in 2012, Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future, citing sobering data about dramatic declines in median family income, educational attainment and economic mobility.

The report warns that “the American Dream is at risk” and recommends sweeping changes in the ways community colleges prepare students for success.

Among the report’s many recommendations for redesigning the student learning experience is to “close the American skills gaps by sharply focusing career and technical education on preparing students with the knowledge and skills required for existing and future jobs in regional and global economies.”

Apprenticeship programs offer community colleges the opportunity to enhance and integrate classroom learning with real-time job training. Successful programs, such as those adopted in the U.K., have increased student success rates, and prepared students with relevant occupational skills. Employers report dramatic economic gains, efficiency improvements, morale boosts, and a host of other company success factors.

But while community college leaders understand the benefits of stimulating major apprenticeship training expansions, that’s only half of the equation. The ability to execute and build a sustainable apprenticeship model on the employer side remains a huge challenge.

Let’s face it. Most employers are not experts at shaping training programs – nor do they want to be. That’s why many have chosen to outsource and take advantage of model apprenticeship programs, so popular in the UK and around the world.

In the UK, training provider intermediaries have played a pivotal role in apprenticeship growth over the past then years. Training provider intermediaries directly support employers by delivering the training, assessing and tracking apprentice progress, managing regulatory requirements and recruiting apprentices. This is the role community colleges can play in the US which will help drive adoption of apprenticeship programs by employers.

Apprenticeships present a great business opportunity for community colleges to grow revenue, increase relevance to employers, and provide a closer connection to the communities they serve. Expanding apprenticeships can mean far more workers are prepared for rewarding careers by ensuring that students have the right skills employers need – and bridging that gap.

As George Boggs, President and CEO Emeritus at AACC, professor of leadership, and higher education consultant, attests: “Partnerships with businesses have the potential to become an institution-transforming catalyst in community colleges.”

Contact Franklin Apprenticeships and learn how your organization can join the U.S. apprenticeship movement that’s sweeping the U.K.

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