The Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship program exemplifies an aspect of JVS’s work that is less visible, but vital. More than a job training provider, JVS leverages 40+ years of Bay Area connections to forge innovative, life-changing partnerships.

On July 11, 2018, the California Workforce Development Board hosted a webinar to demonstrate the best practices of its grantees through the Workforce Accelerator Fund. In the webinar, JVS and the San Francisco SPCA shared their insights about what it takes to bring apprenticeships into non-traditional workplaces to offer people living wage career pathways. This is one of many opportunities where JVS has been selected to share best practices regarding this program. A full-recording of a similar webinar can be found here.

Varied Interests – One Program

The Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship program, the product of a partnership between JVS, the SF SPCA and Foothill College, began in 2015. The SF SPCA was faced with a hiring challenge and, searching for assistance from an experienced workforce intermediary, connected with JVS. They concluded that an apprenticeship program would be the ideal solution to meet the hiring needs of the SF SPCA, while also benefiting low-income job seekers with an interest in building skills to secure living wage jobs.

As the expert connector, JVS aligned each partner’s interests towards a common goal and created an innovative partnership. For the SF SPCA, the program solves a hiring challenge by creating a strong candidate pipeline for the future. For Foothill College, the program motivates its students to engage and succeed academically and acts as a selling point to attract prospective students. For JVS, the program fulfills our mission of transforming lives by providing the participants access to good, living wage career paths.

Innovative Models for the Future of Work

The program is also an opportunity for JVS to test an innovative workforce model that future partners can adopt. The partnership has proved successful because it identified a labor market need, took into account the interests of the various partners and coalesced those interests around a mutually beneficial program.  

It took almost three years to move from conception to program launch. Yet that significant upfront investment in the program was crucial in order to create better, more sustainable results. Rather than rushing to solve its hiring challenge in a sloppy way, the SF SPCA is making a long-term investment in its employees, helping train the apprentices and then retaining them after they graduate with an offer of employment. Likewise, Foothill College is providing its students with hands-on work experience and an opportunity for a career path in veterinary medicine. As a result, we expect this program to have a positive and sustained impact on the community for years to come.

In addition to acting as a direct service provider for Bay Area job seekers, JVS regularly facilitates innovative partnerships that bring together partners across multiple sectors, such as community-based organizations, centers for higher learning and employers — aligning their interests towards a common goal. This partnership model, in combination with a strategic long-term plan, is a recipe for success in the field of workforce development.

Further Reading

About the Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship program

A Brookings Report highlighting JVS’s role in facilitating partnerships

About the history and impact of JVS

Social Policy Research Associates webinar recording 

image copyright Mark Rogers, 2018

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