Colorado’s Apprenticeship Evolution campaign is multi-faceted, utilizing modern media outlets to modernize perceptions about apprenticeships. 

Does this sound familiar? 

Despite lots of initiatives and energy around apprenticeship, many people still don’t know what apprenticeship is or think it’s just for jobs in construction and the skilled trades.  Last January, several Colorado state agencies, in collaboration with the Business and Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission (a body appointed by the Governor to advance work-based learning as a key workforce development strategy across Colorado) banded together to do something about this, launching a public awareness campaign in June with three primary goals:

  1. To change perceptions of apprenticeships among students, adult learners, and business owners;
  2. To increase understanding of and interest and participation in existing programs; and
  3. To increase interest in, understanding of, and drive adoption among new businesses.

Key components of Colorado’s Apprenticeship Evolution campaign include a new website and 15- and 30-second videos that challenge perceptions and spark interest.  A digital advertising campaign on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and common streaming platforms such as YouTube, Hulu and netted almost 3,000,000 views in just three months.  The videos were also used in radio and television public service announcements.  Colorado updated print and presentation materials for modernized and consistent messaging and is working with the BEL Commission to equip business leaders using apprenticeship to bring the message of modern apprenticeships to other business leaders.  Colorado also capitalized on television exposure, advertising an “apprenticeship jobs line” that job seekers and parents of students could call for more information during a TV interview with the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

CDLE’s Experiential Learning/Apprenticeship Coordinator Jennifer Jirous-Rapp identified a few challenges: sustainability, helping agencies find their shared interests and mutually agreed-upon terms and definitions, and capturing and presenting current apprenticeship opportunities in a user-friendly, searchable database.  She cautions not to let the cart get ahead of the horse; job seeker interest comes quickly, so don’t generate excitement before apprenticeship opportunities are available.  Nonetheless, she is enthusiastic about Apprenticeship Evolution.  “It is so clear that there is a lack of understanding about these new apprenticeship opportunities and how they can benefit businesses and people, so I am proud to be building opportunity for those who are lost in the pipeline right now.”

Source: Apprenticeship Connections Newsletter – October 2018

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