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The missing piece to your skills gap puzzle

Chris Ray Education, Industry, Workforce Development , , Leave a comment June 23, 2021

The missing piece to your skills gap puzzle

Apprenticeships are an excellent and sustainable training solution to skills gap issues.

One key element to their success is the robust construct, designed to comprehensively train participants in a given occupation. But can a multi-year program upskilling across numerous competencies be too much at times?

For many companies, the answer is yes, at least for some of their workforce. While most well-constructed apprenticeship programs are ideal solutions for employees in a given occupation, the need for cross-training often creates circumstances for individuals to train in some, but not all, of the skills woven into a full program.

Enter the concept of the modular apprenticeship. The idea is to take a large apprenticeship program and segment it into modules that focus on common topical areas. This allows for employees to benefit from the entire upskilling program if needed, or to focus time and effort only on the segments that apply to their areas of responsibility.

An innovation in apprenticeship delivery, modular apprenticeships expand the range of employees who can benefit from a single program. Employers are no longer forced to take an all-or-none approach to apprenticeship training, and both cost and time commitment are minimized by focusing on the skill development areas essential to each employee group’s needs. If customization is what you’ve been searching for, modularization may just be your “missing piece.”


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Chris Ray

Christopher Ray is the executive director, business development at Penn College’s Workforce Development department. During his tenure at the college, he has overseen training program development, and worked with companies in nearly every business sector to address skill improvement needs. Employing innovative approaches to workforce development, Chris led a team at the college in developing a proprietary, competency-based assessment program to help companies identify and prioritize areas of opportunity for training. He spearheaded efforts to expand apprenticeship opportunities to companies through a blend of in-person and remote, interactive instruction to multiple manufacturing consortia. His experience includes work in manufacturing and health care, as well as training roles in pharmaceuticals and biotech.

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