JFF Senior Advisor Eric Seleznow, director of the JFF Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning, was recently interviewed on “Workforce Central,” the official podcast of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), to discuss trends in apprenticeships and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on apprenticeship programs.
In an episode titled “Apprenticeships in the Age of COVID-19,” Seleznow noted that, even though a lot of apprenticeship programs have had to stop or slow down because of the pandemic, there are some bright spots.
For example, programs in fields such as IT, business services, and financial services have been able to move their training online. “Almost all the related technical instruction has quickly pivoted to online” in those fields, he told host Ron Painter, the NAWB’s president and CEO. “That’s an easy pivot, and it’s driven a lot of innovation.”
And in sectors such as construction that have had to put apprenticeships on hold because instruction has to take place in person, the pandemic-driven slowdown in operations presents an opportunity to start planning programs that will play a big role in preparing the workforce for the post-COVID recovery, he added.
“What JFF is saying to stakeholders is, ‘Now is the time to strategically work on your apprenticeships,’” he said, pointing out that apprenticeships providers could use this time to forge partnerships with school systems, colleges, workforce boards, and intermediaries. “We still have these programs moving, and some are growing; COVID has just slowed it way down. Now is the time to work on partnerships for the recovery.”