In recent years, the Labor Department has put an increased emphasis on apprenticeship as an effective workforce development strategy. Combining classroom instruction with on-the-job training, apprenticeship programs can help businesses, both large and small, bridge skills gaps and build a pipeline of talent for the future. What’s more, because programs now exist in not just traditional trades, such as construction, but also high-growth industries, such as information technology, apprenticeships are a good option for people from a wide range of backgrounds, including people with disabilities and other underrepresented populations. To help communicate this important message to relevant stakeholders, in 2016-2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy enlisted Concepts to produce a suite of materials.
The first component of this two-year project was the conceptualization, casting and production of two “Apprenticeship Works” videos, one targeted at “recruits” (potential apprenticeship program participants, as well as their educators and service providers) and another at “sponsors” (employers with the potential to offer apprenticeships and/or sponsor apprentices from already-existing industry-led programs). These videos feature interviews with four diverse apprentices and former apprentices in a range of fields, including information technology, health care information management and shipbuilding, as well as representatives from the organizations that sponsor their apprenticeship programs.
For both “Apprenticeship Works” videos, Concepts produced fully accessible versions featuring captions for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and audio introductions for people who are blind or have low vision. Both these accessibility features also assisted in making the videos more accessible for people with a range of cognitive disabilities. Furthermore, each video was translated and produced in Spanish.
To complement the “Apprenticeship Works” videos, Concepts wrote and designed three high-fidelity, tri-fold print guides, each targeted at a different stakeholder group: youth with disabilities (“Apprenticeship Works for You”), educators (“Apprenticeship Works for Inclusion”) and service providers, and employers (“Apprenticeship Work for Business”). These guides, along with the videos, have been circulated across the nation as part of DOL’s efforts to emphasize the many ways “Apprenticeship Works”—for individuals, for employers and for America.