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Introducing NCAD | "Radical Change" & Job-Embedded Learning from Paul Fain's "The Job"

Updated: Apr 17

Apprenticeship degrees are becoming a hot concept in the U.S., with growing interest from states and employers across industries. The combination of a registered apprenticeship and a college degree for workers in high-demand fields seems like an obvious win, writes Paul Fain in Work Shift's The Job.

Yet these programs remain rare—as do apprenticeships more broadly, particularly compared to the rest of the world. In an attempt to accelerate their adoption, Reach University, an upstart provider, this week is sharing its playbook for creating apprenticeship


"The degree is not dead. This is a profoundly pro–higher education model," says Joe Ross, the university’s president. "The employers are here for it."

Reach University is proud to scale its efforts to position affordable and career-aligned Apprenticeship Degrees as a mainstream option for every learner with the launch of the National Center for the Apprenticeship Degree (NCAD).

As a nonprofit initiative of Reach University, NCAD will support employers, state agencies and forward-thinking institution of higher education in scaling their own Apprenticeship Degrees to solve continued labor shortages in K-12, healthcare, and many more industries. 

Dr. Courtney Hills McBeth of Western Governors University (WGU), John Lane of State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), Geoffrey Roche of Siemens Healthineers, Mike Rogers, Arkansas’ Chief Workforce Officer, and Reach’s President, Joe E. Ross, share the urgency, need, and value of an Apprenticeship Degree in Fain's article "Apprenticeship + Degree":

Read the full article here. Highlights include:

"Ross says NCAD will provide support so local partners can take the model and run with it. 'We also want it adopted in a way that’s not a make-believe apprenticeship,' he says, stressing that the programs should not be reduced to an internship, co-op, or clinical experience.

The center seeks to set the standard for a quality approach with these tenets:

  • The job comes first and is typically entry-level, frontline work.

  • The workplace becomes the learning place, with half of the academic credit for a degree coming from on-the-job training.

  • The job is degree conferring and is provided by an accredited college with learning that occurs online or on nights and weekends.

  • The learner earns a wage while they learn, gain experience, and pursue a degree.

'We expect our graduates not just to be job ready, but also future ready,' Ross says."

From John Lane, SHEEO’s vice president for academic affairs and equity initiatives: "'More learn-and-earn opportunities are needed around the country,' Lane says. And he says apprenticeship degrees can help drive more equitable representation in professions. Lane praises Reach for its engagement with colleges and other partners. 'They build wonderful relationships, And relationships drive policy.'”

From Dr. Courtney Hills McBeth, WGU’s chief academic officer and provost: “We’re reimagining our teacher education model, and essentially taking the teacher apprenticeship model and embedding it in our curriculum.” 

From Geoffrey Roche, director of workforce development in North America for Siemens Healthineers: “'Every single modality is in need of workforce.' Meanwhile, the industry’s association estimates that 13K students were turned away by college programs last year due to faculty shortages or a lack of clinical placements. The workforce crisis is contributing to delays for patients in getting radiology appointments, Roche says, which has made it a top issue for governors and state legislatures....Enter the apprenticeship degree, which Roche says is a 'transformative model' and a natural fit for the industry given its focus on employer demand."

“'It’s the exact model that’s going to create more career mobility and potentially more retention' for workers, says Roche. 'We are really at the cusp of a significant opportunity in healthcare.'”

From Mike Rogers, Arkansas' first Chief Workforce Officer: "The apprenticeship degree needs to be part of an à la carte that leads to an entrée. We need to be able to customize.

Lacking awareness and exposure pose a challenge for employers that might otherwise take the leap, he says. The new center from Reach could help there, and the state’s department of education is part of NCAD’s coalition."

Learn more about NCAD and join us:

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