ACE Kicks off National Apprenticeship Week Building Bridges Between Colleges and Employers
November 15, 2021

​​​​​ACE is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 15-21) by announcing the success of its Apprenticeship Pathways Project pilot program, which focuses on developing new standards for college-level equivalencies and workplace competencies for ACE-evaluated apprenticeship programs.

Employers can now sign up to have their apprenticeship programs evaluated by faculty consultants that will allow them to:

  • Promote the program to new apprenticeship candidates
  • Provide an accelerated pathway to postsecondary credentials for apprentices
  • Retain personnel by investing in professional development
  • Affirm the value and quality of apprenticeship training

ACE hosted a webinar on Nov. 9 with some of the pilot program participants to help explain the benefits of building bridges and opportunities between apprenticeship programs and higher education. Representatives from apprenticeship programs at IBM, Techtonic, and International Finishing Trades, spoke about the benefits of the programs for employers, as well as the executive director of apprenticeships at Ivy Tech Community College, and an ACE faculty consultant from the University of Charleston.

Kelli Jordan, director of skills, career and performance at IBM, said “When we had that opportunity to participate in the pilot and ultimately were able to get a recommendation of 45 credit hours for our software development apprenticeship, this has just been something that has been of so much interest to all of our participants. Because it really helps them to figure out how they can now come full life cycle and potentially pursue either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree as part of their backpack of different skills they’ve built.”

Ryan Reed, one of IBM’s software development apprentices, spoke to attendees about his experience with the program. While he started college after high school, he didn’t finish, and instead got a job in Fire/EMS for 15 years before he was injured. Located in Raleigh, NC, he was surrounded by opportunities in the tech industry. But without a degree he struggled to find work until he successfully applied for IBM’s apprenticeship program, which turned out to be a great fit for him and his family. Getting paid to learn on the job was important to him, he said, and while he was learning he was able to spend time working on actual software development projects.

“I think it’s a great way for employers to have employees that learn on the job… even in today’s society and the ways that jobs change as rapidly as they do, having an employee who knows how to learn and is familiar with your system, familiar with your company, and can pivot is very beneficial,” he said.

After completing the year-long program, he was hired full-time. He was thrilled to learn his apprenticeship would be eligible for 45 hours of college credit and is looking forward to see where this pathway will take him.

Click here to watch the full webinar.

Wat​​ch this video to learn more about ACE’s Apprenticeship Evaluation Program: