Edison Freire (left) is pictured above with one of our TechServ Scholars at the program completion event on August 2, 2018.

We recently sat down with Edison Freire, director of gateway initiatives at JEVS Human Services, to talk apprenticeships and why they are beneficial to both employers and job seekers.

> Want to get the facts on apprenticeship work in Philadelphia? Click HERE.

Q: Promoting apprenticeship opportunities, especially in non-traditional sectors, is central to JEVS’s workforce strategy. Can you explain why this is important for employers and job seekers? 

A: In today’s economy, finding and hiring skilled workers is difficult for every organization. Locally, the significant talent shortages and skills gaps hinder an employers’ ability to innovate, excel, and expand—impacting productivity and profitability.

Apprenticeships are a proven and creative solution widely used in Europe that address talent development challenges, especially for middle skills occupations that do not require a four-year degree. In addition, the model can be integrated into employers’ existing training and human resource development strategies.

Through an apprenticeship program, employers can build a skilled workforce that is trained to industry standards and tailored to their needs. The model can increase staff skill level, knowledge, and productivity as well as job-satisfaction and retention. Apprenticeships can provide a competitive edge by streamlining recruitment and tapping into a diverse talent pool. Additionally, the model establishes a secure and proven talent pipeline for future hiring needs.

For the jobseeker, apprenticeships provide structured on-the-job training experiences that help them gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen occupation. Upon successful completion of the program, apprentices attain a national, industry-endorsed credential issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, which certifies they can effectively perform the role they trained in.

> Read about our recent partnership with Associated Builders & Contractors to create an apprenticeship training center in Philadelphia.

Q: What gets in the way of employers utilizing an apprenticeship model?

A: One of the barriers that prevents employers from utilizing an apprenticeship model is the limited availability of resources to start and manage an apprenticeship program. Another factor to consider is that some employers may not understand how apprenticeships work and what the benefits are.  Also, there are some misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships, including “apprenticeships are only for trades careers.”

Q: How is JEVS helping employers utilize this strategy to find, grow and keep talent? If an employer is interested, how can they get involved?  

A: In November 2018, JEVS partnered with Philadelphia Works to launch ApprenticeshipPHL, a regional public-private collaboration with the overall goal of increasing and aligning registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs for the benefit of the Greater Philadelphia region’s residents and employers.

JEVS functions as an apprenticeship intermediary to ease the burden on employers interested in starting an apprenticeship program. We can help employers by providing technical assistance and support in developing and maintaining their program. Our services include creating the training plan to fit the needs of their business, recruiting and vetting candidates from a diverse talent pool, training and supporting apprentice mentors, providing wrap-around services to apprentices, coordinating logistics, connecting with education providers, assisting with required paperwork/recordkeeping, and leveraging resources and funding to help offset costs.

> If an employer is interested in starting an apprenticeship program, they can contact Alex McNeil at 215-854-1782 or alex.mcneil@jevs.org.

Q: JEVS has hired a number of apprentices to work in various roles. Can you describe how your own employer is using this model to attract and grow talent?  

A: As JEVS grows in size and scope, we view the apprenticeship framework as an opportunity to evolve our hiring and provide ongoing professional learning to create the best experience and environment for our employees to keep them satisfied and engaged with their chosen career.

We understand the value of meaningful employee training and currently have several apprentices working in various programs/departments within JEVS. We have apprentices working in our Community Living and Home Supports programs as direct support professionals, in our Achievement through Counseling and Treatment clinics, and in our Information Technology department.

As an employer of apprentices, the experience of this process informs how we support employers and identify best practices. Because of the apprenticeship model, we have seen increased employee engagement and retention, as well as improved job satisfaction.

> View apprenticeship information & resources HERE.

Posted in Apprenticeships Blog