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The journey to a career usually starts at a fork in the road. One way is to on-the-job training. The other took a detour through the university. They have different benefits and obstacles, but they all look like one-way streets-no U-turns are allowed.

Now, pilot collaborations between universities, companies, and the American Board of Education are designed to help people take two paths.this Apprenticeship Pathway Project Accept apprenticeship—a company-designed experience that pays people to learn while they work—and convert it into free college credits.

For example, someone who completes a one-year software engineering apprenticeship at IBM not only lays the foundation for a career in the company, but also can get up to 45 university credits, allowing her to earn about 3 semesters to start an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree Bachelor of Science.

Kelli Jordan, IBM’s Director of Careers, Skills and Performance, said: “This is indeed a bridge that can help candidates-learners and apprentices-achieve these two outcomes.” “It keeps people’s choices open and helps them in Continue to develop skills at any time throughout your life.”

For a long time, apprenticeship has been the main way of hiring people in technical industries, but They have recently gained some momentum as a way to train people for office work, Including information technology positions that are in high demand. Since employers pay for training and provide salaries, job seekers can more afford these opportunities than courses that charge tuition.

However, as the skills and certifications required for good job opportunities change over time, some workers without a college degree find that they will benefit from it. Others are eager to obtain a diploma for personal reasons.

“Slowly but surely, individual employees are beginning to realize that if the path or living environment they choose causes them to have to work on the front end, they must combine it with documenting their learning,” said Louis Soares, Chief Learning and Innovation in the United States Officials of the Board of Education. “It is part of our collective challenge to figure out how to make more employees manage these.”

This is a problem that the federal government has begun to solve. Many apprenticeships are registered with the Department of Labor, which helps these training programs work with higher education, granting credits through the College Alliance of Registered Apprenticeships.Congress is considering a project called University Apprenticeship Law This will strengthen the network.

In the fall of 2020, the American Board of Education received $1 million from the Koch Foundation and began its own efforts. The committee used its decades of experience in recruiting university faculty to convert military training into university equivalent credits to design a similar apprenticeship review process. The committee will track the credits that apprentices earn through the digital badge platform Credly.

Suarez said that for universities, the benefits of participating in the pilot include improving their ability to attract and recruit students. So far, six institutions have signed agreements to accept apprentice credits: Bismarck State College; Excelsior College; Ivy Tech Community College; Rowan University; Chaoshui Community College; and California State University San Bernardino.

In addition, the review process may be beneficial to higher education as a whole, Suarez added, because it not only helps convert job training into university credits, but also helps convert university courses into work abilities—universities can use this information to Develop a case for the value of their degree.

“Universities are redefining their role in the mobile learning market,” Suarez said.

So far, the companies and organizations participating in the pilot include T-Mobile, Hartford Group and several labor unions. Their apprenticeship trainers work as software engineers, insurance analysts, customer service representatives, and power line workers.

For companies like IBM, leaders said that one of the benefits of apprenticeship is that it attracts employees from different ages, different education and professional backgrounds. Jordan said the company will graduate nearly 1,000 apprentices between 18 and 60 years old by the end of 2022. In their ranks: former teachers, firefighters and manicurists.

“You did introduce a more diverse channel of candidates because you didn’t assume that there is a specific profile that suits your needs,” Jordan said. “If you are not building technology in a diverse team, your product will not be able to meet the needs of a diverse world.”

Jordan said that adding college credits to the IBM apprenticeship may help make this experience more attractive to more candidates.

“We recognize that many people find the value of this degree. We do the same,” she said. “This opens up a prospect for our apprentices, allowing them to pursue degrees that they might not have been able to achieve in the past.”

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