High schools are struggling to prepare young people for today’s economy. Too many students are disengaged and have difficulty navigating their options after graduation. And, many students lack affordable postsecondary opportunities, while a postsecondary education is more important than ever. These challenges make the path to economic security difficult, especially for those facing the persistent racial, gender, and other inequities present in the country today.
At the same time, to compete and grow, employers need to build a sustainable pipeline of workers with adaptable skills. Career Technical Education (CTE) is central to ensuring we align students’ talents and interests with the needs of our economy and employers, and, in recent years, a number of states and communities have developed new youth apprenticeship programs to further expand access to high-quality, career-focused pathways for more learners.
Youth apprenticeship – when designed with quality and equity in mind – allow students to complete high school, start their postsecondary education at no cost, get paid work experience alongside a mentor, and start on a path that broadens their options for the future. However, the policy and practice of youth apprenticeship is still relatively nascent in the United States, necessitating supports and resources for the field. This is why New America launched the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeships – or PAYA – a national effort, of which Advance CTE is thrilled to be a part.
The partners of PAYA – Advance CTE, CareerWise Colorado, Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeships, Education Strategy Group, JFF, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the National Governors Association and New America – will be working together over the next two years to explore the ways youth apprenticeship can be reinvented to better meet the needs of learners and employers.
“We are excited to work on an initiative that will help ensure that each learner has access to a high-quality education and meaningful work-based experiences that provides the skills he or she needs to be successful in a high-wage, in-demand career,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “PAYA represents a unique blend of policy, practice and research cutting across the national, state and local levels and has the potential for an incredible impact across our country.”
Over the next four years, PAYA will support efforts in states and cities to expand access to high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for high school age youth. PAYA will convene experts and partners, support a community of practitioners, publish research, and provide grants and direct assistance to promising youth apprenticeship programs in cities and states across the U.S.
Advance CTE joins our partners in thanking the funders of this initiative – Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ballmer Group, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Joyce Foundation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., and the Siemens Foundation.
To learn more about PAYA and how youth apprenticeship can unlock opportunity for both young people and employers, visit newamerica.org/paya and stay connected to the initiative’s progress following the #PAYA hashtag.
Katie Fitzgerald, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-588-9630