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Setting a Collective Vision for Youth Apprenticeship: Reflecting on Early Momentum to Plan for the Future

Join the Urban Institute, in collaboration with ICF, Jobs for the Future, and net.America, to take part in setting a collective vision for youth apprenticeship. Sponsors, employers, educators, young people, and public officials will come together to celebrate and learn from five years of the Youth Apprenticeship Intermediary Project and other investments to build and expand apprenticeships for both in-school and out-of-school youths. Network with other youth apprenticeship leaders to build a shared community investing the next chapter of youth apprenticeship.

A tight labor market and pressing need for skilled work across the United States has put the value of work-based learning for youth in focus. In celebration of the first Youth Apprenticeship Week, key leaders in youth apprenticeship will share insights about how to maintain and expand momentum for youth apprenticeship nationally.

Youth apprentices and employers will share their experiences with youth apprenticeship, and researchers and practitioners will elevate lessons learned from across the system. Discussions will span such topics as the differences in serving high school, postsecondary, and out-of-school youths; creating and sustaining resilient programs; maximizing job quality and retention for apprentices; and establishing effective relationships between intermediaries and registration agencies.


9:00 a.m. - Breakfast, Networking, and Meet the Intermediaries
Ahead of our official events, please take a moment to learn about the work and findings from the Youth Apprenticeship Intermediaries. ICF, JFF, net.America, and the Urban Institute will each have representatives in the breakfast area and are looking forward to meeting attendees, sharing findings from the project, and answering questions around their work over the past five years on the Youth Apprenticeship Intermediary Project.

10:00 a.m. - Celebrating the Youth Apprenticeship Intermediary Project
Start the day by celebrating the impact of the US Department of Labor’s initiative to expand registered youth apprenticeship through four Youth Apprenticeship Intermediary contracts. The Department of Labor will report on the apprenticeships created and participating employers in the context of past and future approaches to building apprenticeships for young people.

  • Robert Lerman, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute
  • Megan Baird, Deputy Administrator, Office of Apprenticeship, US Department of Labor

10:30 a.m. - Elevating the Voices of Youth Apprentices
The session will ground the day’s discussions by gleaning insight from the world of youth apprenticeship through the eyes of the apprentices themselves. We will also highlight case studies of youth apprenticeship programs from around the country. 

  • Alexis Andrews, Cyber Security Support Technician, Technically IT
  • Zach Boren, Senior Policy Program Manager, Urban Institute
  • Leslee Haisma, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, Urban Institute
  • Emily Sohn, Manufacturing Apprentice, Township High School District 214
  • Coda Wear, Apprentice, PTA Plastics
  • Tyler Wright, Electrician Apprentice, Local 159, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and 1901 Inc.

11:15 a.m. - Employers’ Strategies to Propel Youth Apprenticeship
Employers are essential to the delivery and growth of youth apprenticeships. This session looks at how intermediaries can stimulate employers to build programs and offer apprenticeships. Employers and sponsors then discuss what does and does not work, what they anticipated, and what surprised them in creating and sustaining apprenticeships.

  • Ashley Felton, Founder, Technically IT
  • Erik Halverson, Electrical Superintendent, 1901, Inc.
  • Robert Lerman, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute
  • James (Andy) McHaffie, Apprenticeship Coordinator, Fort Zumwalt School District
  • Nicholas Wyman, Executive Director, The Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation

12:00 p.m. - Lunch break

12:30 p.m. - Youth Apprenticeship at Scale: A Vision for Maryland
Learn about how a Maryland political leader came to view youth apprenticeship as central to opportunity and productivity and how has put youth apprenticeship objectives become a key part of the laws enabling the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The Maryland plan is to create sufficient youth apprenticeships (about 28,000 new slots per year) so that 45 percent of Maryland high school graduates will have completed the high school component of a registered apprenticeship by the 2030—2031 school year. State Senator Rosapepe will describe efforts under way to accomplish this objective, including efforts by public agencies, specific industries, and funding plans developed by the Maryland Apprenticeship 2030 Commission.

  • Robert Lerman, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute
  • James Rosapepe, Maryland State Senator

1:15 p.m. - Breakout sessions
These smaller discussions are an opportunity to delve into critical topics for sustaining and growing apprenticeship opportunities for youth. 

Lessons for serving in-school youths: Registered apprenticeship programs for young people still enrolled in high school present their own opportunities and challenges. This interactive session will address the unique hesitations to creating high school–based apprenticeship programs, as well as the best practices within apprenticeship program design, to address both structural and student-centered needs.

  • Leslee Haisma, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, Urban Institute
  • Deborah Kobes, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
  • Donna Worthem, Assistant Principal, Maryville Schools
  • Taylor White, National Director to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, New America

Lessons for serving out-of-school youths: Out-of-school youths make up most youth apprentices and represent a diverse set of populations. This session will feature insights from organized labor and workforce system partners discussing various strategies for recruiting and retaining out-of-school youths and how the apprenticeship system can attract these groups of young people at scale. This session will provide attendees an opportunity to see how the partnerships between labor, employers, community based organizations, government agencies, and registration agencies serve out-of-school youth. 

  • John Colborn, Executive Director, Apprenticeships for America
  • Josh Stern, Membership Coordinator, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • Lindsey Tyson, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, Urban Institute

Supporting a future of sustainability: After a five-year investment to expand youth apprenticeship programs through the Youth Apprenticeship Intermediary initiative, special attention is needed on how to maintain and sustain progress. This session will be an opportunity for stakeholders across the youth apprenticeship landscape to engage with each other and share ideas about what system investments, technical assistance, and other supports are needed to support better program sustainability outcomes.

  • Zach Boren, Senior Policy Program Manager, Urban Institute
  • Andrew Campbell, Policy Program Manager, Urban Institute
  • Mike Lawrence, Senior Workforce Director, ICF

2:15 p.m. - Networking break

2:45 p.m. - Maximizing Youth Retention for Equitable Impact
Completion rates across the registered apprenticeship system are low, including rates for youth apprentices. This session will address the barriers that affect retention, including specific challenges that may vary by apprentices’ race and gender. The session will conclude with strategies to overcome these challenges and recommendations for expanding apprenticeships to create a more inclusive workforce.

  • Bhavani Arabandi, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Pastor Randi Francis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nehemiah Community Empowerment Center, Inc.
  • Lazaro Lopez, Associate Superintendent, Township High School District 214
  • Amanda Myers, Employment Coordinator, Down Syndrome Innovations
  • Shruti Nayak, Policy Analyst, Urban Institute

3:30 p.m. - What’s Next for Youth Apprenticeship?
Join a conversation with policymakers to discuss the potential for apprenticeship to further unlock career opportunities for young people. We will close the day learning about what comes next for youth apprenticeship and exploring long-term possibilities.

  • Megan Baird, Deputy Administrator, Office of Apprenticeship, US Department of Labor
  • Catherine McConnell, Policy Advisor, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, US Department of Education
  • Deborah Kobes, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute (moderator)

4:15 p.m. Concluding remarks

4:30 p.m. Event concludes

ICF logo
net.America logo
JFF logo

This is an invite-only event. If you have not received an invitation and are interested in joining, please contact [email protected]. Check-in and breakfast will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the program will begin at 10:00 a.m. Lunch will be provided. We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Support for this event is provided by the US Department of Labor. For more on Urban’s funding policies, go to

Date & Time Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Urban Institute 500 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington , DC , 20024
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Check-in and breakfast will begin at 9:00am. Lunch will be provided.

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