YUPRO tapped the France-based OpenClassrooms to administer the online learning for its new registered apprenticeship program.
The Labor Department requires that registered apprentices complete a minimum of 1K hours of work at a family-sustaining wage, with at least 144 hours of training, which can be completed online or in a hybrid learning environment. Sims says the online learning option appeals to many apprentices, who need flexibility while launching their career and balancing other responsibilities.
OpenClassrooms is a B Corporation
that offers online
, competency-based content. Its more than 600 courses and 55 training programs stretch across professions such as coding, IT, product management, data management, digital marketing, communications, and UX design.
The company holds accreditation in the European Union. The WASC Senior College and University Commission confirmed that OpenClassrooms is pursuing its approval. If the provider, which also is seeking licensure in several states, secures regional accreditation and program approval from the U.S. Department of Education (a lengthy process), it could be eligible to receive federal aid.
“Our plan is to build degree apprenticeship programs,”
says Pierre Dubuc
, the platform’s co-founder and CEO. “That means bridging apprenticeship to higher education and providing workplace-based college education, with a salary, leading to a degree, fully sponsored by employers.”
Employers or governments fully sponsor 80% of students who are enrolled in training programs with OpenClassrooms.
These students graduate debt-free. Those who pay tuition fees—the web development program’s
rate is $300 per month, for example—can have those costs refunded
if they don’t get a job within six months.
Dubuc says part of the draw for the company’s more than 2K partner employers is the relevance of coursework.
“We design our programs starting from their needs in terms of jobs and skills,” he says. “Employers try it and see that our students and graduates have the skills they need to grow their business.”
Online training programs from OpenClassrooms feature career counseling, projects, and one-on-one weekly mentorship, among other components. The cost to provide these education tracks ranges from $5K to $15K per year, Dubuc says. Apprenticeships include the same suite of learning and supports but are more expensive to offer because of federal compliance and coordination with employers. The average annual cost of this training for participating companies is $15K to $20K.
“We are targeting large employers with strong needs in tech and digital skills,” Dubuc says of the new apprenticeships from YUPRO. But he hopes the all-inclusive model attracts small and medium-size businesses as the program expands.
The YUPRO apprenticeships are designed to offer participants a way to earn college credits and credentials. The certificate of completion can lead to transfer credit from community colleges in some states, Sims says. The company also has a partnership with the Seattle Colleges District and is developing one with the Bay Area Community College Consortium.
Sims says the apprenticeships will deliver high-touch human support for online learning, as well as immediate productivity on the job.
The Kicker: “This is a win for employers, our economy, and, most importantly, our early-career workforce that is desperate for options that aren’t limited to those with specific pedigrees,” she says.