Rethinking career pathways

The opportunity gap

Apprenticeships serve as a pathway into well-paying and rewarding careers across a range of industries — from manufacturing and construction to technology and healthcare. However, many adults miss out on these opportunities because they are not aware of apprenticeship programs or don’t have the necessary support to prepare for or gain entry to them.

The role of pre-apprenticeships

Pre-apprenticeships bridge this gap by equipping people with the knowledge and skills they need to enter and succeed in apprenticeships. Pre-apprenticeship participants learn academic skills, such as math and literacy, and workplace skills, such as time management and conflict resolution. Participants also learn about their specific industries — including workplace norms and expectations or the tools and machinery they might use on the job.

High-quality pre-apprenticeship programs align to industry demand, set clear pathways into apprenticeships and other industry roles, and provide support services for their participants. These programs have the potential to drive greater and more diverse participation in apprenticeships and the broader workforce.

Helping adult education providers close the gap

Supporting new pre-apprenticeships

The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge was a $750,000 competition to advance pre-apprenticeships. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education invited adult education providers to design programs that better prepare learners for apprenticeships and beyond.

The challenge was open to all AEFLA-funded providers — including those without prior experience delivering pre-apprenticeships — to encourage a broad range of entrants across diverse industries and locations. Through the virtual accelerator in Stage 2, all finalists will have access to digital resources and support from subject matter experts. These resources will be shared publicly at the end of the challenge to increase the capacity of the broader adult education community to deliver high-quality pre-apprenticeships.