Young people who are out of school and unemployed need substantial preparation and supports in order to get and keep a job. Pre-apprenticeships, as well as similar work-based learning models, designed for these opportunity youth can provide an effective on ramp to good jobs by offering technical training with hands-on work experience. These programs can also connect opportunity youth to apprenticeships, an entry point to highly skilled jobs that pay well and don’t typically require a college degree.
Two case studies highlight successful work-based learning models that provide lessons for organizations interested in expanding access to apprenticeship for opportunity youth. The District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund in Philadelphia’s Direct Support Professional Apprenticeship Program is a three-step model including bridge, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship components. In New Orleans, Tulane University’s Cowen Institute operates the Earn and Learn program, which offers programs in information technology/digital media and the building trades. Both use proven youth-focused support strategies, employ highly trained youth specialists, and have strong connections with employers.