“Across the country, employers are reporting a skills gap for middle-skill jobs that require some form of post high school education or training but not a bachelor’s degree. Employers report there are insufficient numbers of job applicants with the occupational/technical skills required for open middle-skill positions and that too many applicants lack critical ‘soft skills,’ and have no relevant work experience. State policymakers have heard employers’ concerns and are seeking solutions.

 

[According to the authors,] one…strategy for filling these skill gaps is work-based learning programs like apprenticeship and career and technical education…with a worksite component — programs that blend worksite and classroom learning to prepare workers with the skills employers need.…Yet, the scale of work-based learning, especially paid work-based learning, is limited in the United States.

Recognizing the value of work-based learning and the opportunity to spread work-based learning to more populations and sectors of the economy, states have adopted policies to help increase the scope of work-based learning opportunities.

 

[The authors] …scanned the fifty states and the District of Columbia to identify the policies that states have in place to support work-based learning that includes paid employment” (p.2).

 

“In order for a state policy to count, state statute, administrative policy, or a state plan (such as the state plan under the Perkins Act), must direct the policy. Funding counts as a policy. The policy must be statewide in scope, although actual funding may be insufficient to cover all areas of a state. Funding that is from a one-time federal, philanthropic, or other non-state grant does not count. Pilot programs do not count unless they will be in place in 2017.…The policies need not be limited to paid, work-based learning, but they must be inclusive of it” (p.5).

 

The resource summarizes the state-by-state results of this scan, conducted in early 2017, so that researchers, policymakers, and practitioners can easily view each state’s work-based learning policies.

 

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)