COVID-19 has caused many changes to Colorado’s education system, and work-based learning is no exception. Whether it’s internships, apprenticeships, or credential attainment, students, schools, and businesses are finding innovative ways to navigate and ensure work-based learning still works for learners across Colorado. See below for five strategies from Colorado Succeeds members Pinnacol Assurance and Lockheed Martin, who continue to run their best-in-class, robust work-based learning programs:
Be Prepared: Employers may want to prepare for work from home scenarios as soon as apprentices start, Pinnacol recommends. If your workforce is increasingly working from home, designating one day a week or month to road test it can help prepare apprentices and managers for the logistics and demands down the road.
Keep Accountability: Have apprentices and managers keep open lines of communication at the start and end of the day to track what tasks and projects they are working on. Follow up at the end of the day to check in on progress/completion. Use weekly or daily check-ins to assess mental health and apprentice morale.
Accommodate Needs for Remote Apprentices: Make sure your students have what they need to do the job, including internet access, laptops, monitors, and proper workspace. Pinnacol Assurance also used ergonomic consultants to support work from home transitions and accommodations for their team. These professionals helped apprentices identify home office resources such as low cost bed desks if they did not have a desk/office to use for their remote work.
Leverage Technology & Partners: Lockheed Martin is using video conferencing software to replace in-person interviews, as well as workforce centers to help interview applicants for their apprenticeship programs.
Problem Solve For In-Office Work: Lockheed Martin is ensuring they comply with CDC guidelines around employees wearing masks and physical distancing. In addition, they are actively brainstorming strategies for advanced manufacturing apprenticeships, which can’t be done remotely.
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