By Mary Knight | Communications Associate, CareerWise
At CareerWise, we develop and provide the apprenticeship framework that creates opportunities for students and employers—that’s our product. And the value of our product is rooted in competency. The systems of learning and assessment are based on an apprentice demonstrating that they are proficient in occupation specific competencies so they can provide maximum value to the employer and launch a high-growth career.
DRIVEN BY INDUSTRY
So, how are competency structures determined for each apprenticeship? This is where instructional design comes into play.
The instructional design team, also known as the apprenticeship design team, works with partners and coalitions to monitor the market and determine what occupations are currently in high demand by employers. Then, they compile data in order to take those occupations through a greenlighting process to ensure they can create economic mobility and middle-income careers for the apprentices.
Paola Baglietto, director of instructional design at CareerWise, leads this process.
“Besides creating equitable access to opportunity, we want to ensure there is a legitimate need and value in developing an apprenticeship because it takes thoughtful collaboration from many different parties to bring a new occupation to fruition,” said Baglietto.
Baglietto looks at a requested occupation from many different angles to determine apprenticeship viability including: the job’s projected 10-year growth, compensation, career progression opportunities and any educational requirements that may inhibit advancement. Lastly, it has to be determined if the apprentice occupation is, in fact, scalable. Can it be implemented across many communities or businesses in that industry? Every company is structured differently, so it’s crucial the occupation can be adjusted in size depending on an employer or a community’s needs.
PARTNERSHIP IS KEY
If an occupation passes the greenlighting process, CareerWise then collaborates with subject matter experts (SMEs)—a focus group of industry experts who work in that specific field—to create a competency-based framework for the apprenticeship occupation.
In this part of the process, partnership with employers is key. It’s essential to developing an apprenticeship that provides value to employers, ensuring that the apprenticeship program is industry led.
“The employer buy-in is crucial—not only do we need their insight into what occupations are in-demand but we also need their guidance to create apprenticeship competencies that are aligned with industry needs,” said Baglietto.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The final step to creating a new apprenticeship occupation is designing the product assets, packaging all of the elements—including related instruction such as college courses and certifications— bridging the gap between on-the-job learning and classroom education. When complete, CareerWise youth apprentice occupations create the structure for employers to train a new, innovative talent pipeline, and open doors to opportunity and economic mobility for students.
Additionally, the instructional design team provides support for apprenticeship supervisors such as resources on how to mentor young talent and structuring virtual apprenticeships.
“In the future, we plan to build out even more resources for individuals supervising apprentices, streamlining the program for employers and collecting more standardized data to continue to improve youth apprenticeship for everyone,” said Baglietto.