Connecting Apprenticeships to the Young People Who Need Them Most: The Role of Community-Based Organizations

At a Glance

CBOs can play an essential role in connecting young adults to sustainable employment through apprenticeship programs.

Nearly 40 percent of America’s 18- to 24-year-olds are not in school and do not have a college degree, placing them at risk of unemployment or underemployment. These young adults face significant hurdles to sustainable employment: a lack of access to quality education, few opportunities for work experience or on-the-job training that connects to well-paying jobs, and a lack of critical social supports. 

Pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs can provide the opportunities this population needs to succeed, but these programs are often inaccessible to those who do not have access through current educators or employers. 

Community-based organizations (CBOs) that focus on young adults can provide the needed pathway into these programs by conducting outreach and recruitment to engage young adults in pre-apprenticeship programs, preparing youth to succeed in pre-apprenticeship programs, developing and operating pre-apprenticeship programs, and providing supports to young adults in pre-apprenticeship to apprenticeship pathways so that they succeed. 

This brief:

  • Provides a primer on apprenticeship and its effectiveness for young adults who lack other on-ramps to skilled jobs 
  • Examines the range of roles CBOs can play in helping young adults access these pathways  
  • Provides recommendations for employers, workforce boards, partners, and policymakers in bringing CBOs into a broader workforce development strategy

Apprenticeships are valuable in helping young adults gain a firm economic foothold in today’s rapidly changing workforce. CBOs are a necessary and often untapped part of the formula for success.