Roll Out the Program
Once your registered apprenticeship program for the K-12 teaching occupation is approved, it will be critical to promote it to potential employer partners (K-12 districts) and EPPs (institutions of higher education). Strategies for promoting it include understanding their needs and aligning supports, clearly articulating the benefits and processes involved, leveraging existing communication channels, reaching out to specific entities to pilot the program, and sharing the experiences of partners who are a part of the program. You can also get expert support with this process.
Evaluate the Needs of Prospective Partners & Align Supports
As you launch your registered apprenticeship for the K-12 teaching occupation, consider the needs that your K-12 district partners and educator preparation program (EPP) partners will have. What will increase the likelihood that they will join your program, and what will increase the likelihood of their success in the program? States are strongly encouraged to provide seed funding, financial support, and technical assistance. If you are not providing financial support directly, provide technical assistance to help them access department of labor funding.
Engaging Employer Partners (K-12 Districts)
There are many benefits to K-12 districts to becoming an employer partner in a registered apprenticeship for the K-12 teaching occupation, namely:
Build your own, more diverse teaching pipeline: Apprenticeship degree programs allow prospective teachers to work and earn an income while studying and completing their credentials. This makes teaching more accessible to a broader group of people, enabling people from diverse backgrounds to join the teaching force and expanding the overall pipeline of teachers.
Attract new teachers who are better qualified: Apprentices are practicing, receiving feedback, and reflecting in an integrated way, meaning that when they start as a teacher, they will already have experience and can be more effective from the very beginning.
Bring in new teachers who know your schools: Apprentices observe teaching on a day-to-day basis and are part of your school community while they are learning how to teach, so they have relationships and know your school’s procedures before their first day as a teacher.
Build career pathways: Apprentices may serve as paraprofessionals or instructional assistants in your classrooms, and then grow into a teaching role, making these jobs more attractive and offering true career progressions within your district.
Offer a unique benefit to prospective candidates: The opportunity to work while earning a degree and credential at a low- (or no) cost is not yet available everywhere making this a way that districts can differentiate themselves to prospective candidates at minimal or no extra cost.
Enable candidates to access state and/or federal funding: Candidates in a registered apprenticeship for the K-12 teaching occupation may be eligible for federal WIOA funding, funding from your state department of labor, and funding established for this purpose by your state education department. By participating in a registered apprenticeship for the K-12 teaching occupation, you enable future teachers for your school district to access these funds to help pay for their degrees.
Best practices for engaging employer partners include:
Make the process of becoming an employer partner as clear and streamlined as possible. Make the expectations and application process transparent and efficient.
Notify K-12 districts of the benefits of becoming an employer partner and hosting apprentices.
Promote the opportunity regularly via existing email list serves, communities of practice, conferences, school support organizations, and anywhere else that district leaders in your state already congregate or gather information.
Pilot the program by reaching out to specific districts and then asking them to participate in panels or expert sessions to share their experience.
Engaging Educator Preparation Providers
There are many benefits to institutions of higher education as well:
Serve a more diverse student population: Apprenticeship-based learning diversifies the teacher pipeline. At Reach University, 60% of students identify as BIPOC; 90% identify as low-income, working parents, and/or first-generation college-goers; and 100% come from the communities they serve. Apprenticeship-based degrees are a pathway to matching teacher demographics with K-12 student populations.
Elevate the teaching profession: Apprenticeship-based learning elevates teaching as a profession, refines professional practice, prepares candidates for work in the school environment, elevates candidates’ existing capabilities, and attracts more diverse candidates.
Improve offerings and better prepare students for the workforce: Apprenticeship-based learning allows apprentices to practice, receive feedback, and reflect in an integrated way. It also allows apprentices to observe teaching daily and be part of a school community while learning their trade.
State funding: If your state is offering seed funding, this should also be showcased as a benefit to institutes of higher education.
Best practices for engaging potential educator preparation providers include:
Make the process of becoming an educator preparation provider as clear and streamlined as possible. Make the expectations and application process transparent and efficient.
Notify institutions of higher education of the benefits of becoming an EPP.
Promote the opportunity regularly via communities of practice, conferences, and direct outreach.
Pilot the program by reaching out to specific institutions of higher education and then asking them to participate in panels or expert sessions to share their experience.
Be willing to recruit or allow for out-of-state education preparation providers to provide services in your state in order to provide local education agencies (LEAs) with more cost-effective and high-quality options.
Partners that Can Help
If you need support with any aspect of this process, the following entities can offer support:
National Center for Grow Your Own, firstname.lastname@example.org - The National Center for Grow Your Own provides technical assistance to state education agencies and local education agencies (school districts) that are interested in launching “Grow Your Own” (GYO) programs in partnership with educator preparation providers (EPPs).