Registered in the State of PA, the one-year competency-based apprenticeship program includes 2,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) plus 144 hours of Related Technical Instruction (RTI) delivered virtually to apprentices statewide. The curriculum is designed to provide Navigators with the knowledge and skills needed to support all aspects of registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship, from program design and registration to managing programs and supporting apprentices. Advanced apprenticeship knowledge around project management, mentorship, Diversity Equity Inclusion & Access (DEIA), and policy & advocacy is also taught.
The program is designed to provide Navigators with a full spectrum of practical apprenticeship knowledge that is transferable to new or enhanced apprenticeship-focused roles, both within and outside their organizations. Navigators gain first-hand experience as an apprentice, and are provided with tools for engaging and partnering with the many stakeholders needed to make apprenticeship programs succeed. Candidates for the program include those who currently serve or aspire to serve as apprenticeship coordinators, business services representatives, job developers, education coordinators, non-profit and community-based organization leaders, and union representatives.
KDP has completed three Navigator cohorts to date. A fourth cohort is in progress and a fifth is expected to begin in mid-2023. A total of 78 Navigator apprentices have been enrolled in the first four cohorts (2018-2022).
All applicants must be employed full-time by an employer who will help facilitate the apprentice’s OJT. Candidates may apply for advanced placement. There is no charge for participation. Space is limited.
Graduates of the Navigator program become members of the Keystone Apprenticeship Alliance, the programmatic capstone and central long-term outcome of the RA Navigator program. The KAA is a network of intermediaries able to assist unions and employers to expand apprenticeship programs into new occupations and industries. It was borne out of the clear need for continuing networking and conversation between Navigators that emerged from the transition from in-person to virtual meetings during the pandemic. The community of practice provides a platform for ongoing conversation, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices and resources around apprenticeship.
Currently 52 out of 67 counties (78%) have Navigator coverage.
Including Navigators from across sectors creates greater awareness of the priorities of different stakeholders, helping to break down silos and build actionable relationships that continue through the KAA.
Participating in the Navigator program has provided Tech Impact the opportunity to be a contributor in crucial conversations surrounding effective ways of building the Information Technology workforce.
With a solid understanding of the process and steps needed to develop and register a program in PA, and how to provide appropriate Technical Assistance to employers, sponsors, and intermediaries, we have been able to connect to a wide range of partners to grow apprenticeships in the SEPA region. Comparing where we started a year ago to where we are now is hard to put into words – our team and organization is incredibly more knowledgeable and confident in apprenticeships, and we are able to have really exciting conversations about where we can grow and expand in the region.
While we knew the science and had experience in post-secondary education, we really learned how to do workforce development through our participation in the RA Navigator cohorts and are excited to continue to belong to and work with a community of practitioners as part of the Keystone Apprenticeship Alliance (KAA).
Simply put, I wouldn't be doing this work and be in this position if it weren't for the Navigator program and the ongoing support and education I receive as a part of KAA. I don't think those PA counties with a vested interest in apprenticeship development would ever be able to realize their goals without the Navigator program and the opportunity to be involved with the KAA.
The Navigator program has been quite beneficial in offering the most up-to-date guidance and resources for growing apprenticeships in a structured way that makes the best sense for each workforce area. The RTI is relevant, informative and has increased my bandwidth of knowledge about apprenticeship development, and comfort with reaching out to the ATO.
Any success that we experience in making apprenticeship a desirable, long-term workforce planning solution is directly related to what I learned, and the connections I made, as a Navigator.