How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected State Apprenticeship Systems: Takeaways from Eight States

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How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected State Apprenticeship Systems: Takeaways from Eight States

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This brief highlights key takeaways from virtual discussion groups in which apprenticeship administrators in eight states described how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their Registered Apprenticeship systems and how they and their apprenticeship partners responded to the pandemic. Topics discussed in the brief include how the COVID-19 pandemic affected state apprenticeship staff’s engagement with employers, training providers, and other partners in the apprenticeship system; how apprentice and industry engagement changed during the pandemic; reported challenges and successes in the provision of related training and instruction for apprentices; and potential implications for the future of apprenticeship systems in the states interviewed.

Key takeaways include: 
• Leveraging technology allowed apprenticeship administrators to pivot their work online quickly and easily and to streamline work processes and by working virtually, state apprenticeship agencies continued supporting partners and expanded their reach and responsiveness. 
• Training providers and instructors faced logistical challenges transitioning in-person training online and, while many partners did not offer online apprenticeship training prior to the pandemic, they quickly adapted. 
• Online learning offers greater flexibility than in-person learning, despite certain challenges in implementing hybrid or remote learning options. 
• Some employers were reluctant to hire new apprentices during the economic uncertainty of the pandemic, but no mass cancellations of apprenticeships were reported by the state administrators interviewed for the study. 
• Expansion into nontraditional industries, like healthcare and education, accelerated during the pandemic to address workforce shortages and to meet employer demand.  

The State Apprenticeship Capacity Assessment is part of the Apprenticeship Evidence-Building Portfolio. This qualitative study aims to conduct a methodical review and assessment of the capacity of state systems and their partnerships to design and deliver Registered Apprenticeship Programs and services, including pre-apprenticeship services.