How Apprenticeships May Be the Key to Your Talent Problem

How Apprenticeships May Be the Key to Your Talent Problem 2560 1707 Alicia East

It’s easy to think about apprenticeships as a relic of bygone years for cobblers and philosophers. But it does have a place in today’s world, albeit with a modern understanding and application. An apprenticeship is “a position as an apprentice: an arrangement in which someone learns an art, trade, or job under another.” Historically, apprenticeships have been a backbone of society as chefs and builders and craftspeople passed on vital skills and trades to younger generations. As skills that were necessary for the survival of their families or civilizations, the stakes were high. Students often lived with their masters for years before they were considered worthy of taking over the craft and practicing on their own. The title of a “master” was hard won. For a modern apprenticeship story, please do yourself a favor and watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Today, apprenticeship is simply a formal, organized system of On-The-Job Training (OJT) with the eventual goal of training a worker to the point of competency. An apprenticeship is decidedly different from an internship in a few key ways.

What’s the difference between apprenticeship and internship?

Internships offer temporary, usually short-term roles, often in exchange for college credit. Along with many people’s lived experiences, movies like The Devil Wears Prada have given internships a bad rap as a place where unpaid, under-appreciated, and usually very young workers are likely to do entry-level work. They may or may not have a designated mentor.

Apprenticeship programs, on the other hand, are paid programs that teach skills for specific industries. Training is usually done in a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Apprentices work closely with a mentor and upon completion of the program, the majority of workers who complete an apprenticeship program go on to retain employment.

What types of apprenticeship programs does the DOL support?

The US Department of Labor approves A Registered Apprenticeship Program hat has been validated by the DOL or State Apprenticeship Agency as well as an Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program, which is recognized by a Standards Recognition Entity in accordance with the DOL’s standards.

Apprenticeships can make filling the talent gap so much easier and more effective by:

  • Allowing you to recruit diverse workers
  • Improving your productivity
  • Reducing turnover and improving company culture

Are there financial benefits?

Well yes, as it turns out. In addition to the likelihood of training and hiring solid workers, the US Department of Labor has about $87.5 million in grants available for qualifying apprenticeship programs. Up to $40 million of those funds will be awarded to states that implement required diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

What organizations benefit from apprenticeships?

Union trade organizations are well established in the apprenticeship world while the IT, healthcare, and insurance sectors are relative newcomers. Many organizations are expanding and seeking ways to bolster their talent pools for both contingent workers and direct employees. These programs can benefit everyone, including HR and contingent workforce managers. Apprenticeship isn’t just for skilled trades and union jobs, it can work for many types of roles. Look for ways to educate workers while providing ORJ training and you could score big on the talent front as well as from government funded programs. Check out the DOJ information here and see what it might be able to do for your company.

The Counterintuitive Policy That Saves Businesses Big Money

The Counterintuitive Policy That Saves Businesses Big Money 150 150 Alicia East

For small businesses, cash flow is king, queen, and the American dream. While big businesses’ budgets tend to be a little more forgiving, small businesses and contractors have much less room to handle delayed payments or unexpected expenses. That’s in the best of times. Throw a little thing like a pandemic into the mix and small businesses can find themselves reeling, especially when multiple clients are delaying bills all at once.

Many companies have shifted even more toward hiring contractors instead of full-time employees. The businesses that treat them right create a win/win.

When you pay contractors quickly, they’re more likely to answer your calls and ramp up your projects quickly. For busy department heads with big projects and short turnaround times, there’s nothing better than diving right in with tried and true creative partners. Saving time, money, and hassle by working with people who just get what you’re looking for is priceless.

Pay contractors quickly or risk losing them

Internal processes, red tape, and backlogged accounting departments make it hard to get checks in the mail. We definitely understand. Unfortunately, your corporate freelance payment policy might prevent you from working with the best people. Top contractors get booked quickly. Paying them later than your competition can get you blacklisted or moved to the bottom of their long to do list.

Put yourself in their shoes. Freelancers are single-handedly juggling creative work, billing, marketing, and more. That means the person who sees your invoice in their red column is the same one you’re expecting to bring their all to your next project. What seems like a small invoice to a big company can have a major effect on a small business’ cash flow. Net 90 is a common practice for large companies. But even though a lot of people do it, that doesn’t justify the shady practice.

Systems, Systems, Systems!

Paying contractors quickly is worth the investment. If it’s not feasible to transform your internal process, get a partner with rock solid systems in place. Your contractors will get paid quickly and accurately and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that you’ll always be in good standing with them. With PayReel, you also get the bonus of pre-vetted workers who are always available at a moment’s notice.

Hiring contractors is a beautiful thing: It gives you a fresh perspective and talent without having to bring on full-time team members. Just make sure you do it right. Going from Net 90 to Net Now will save you time, keep you in good standing with contractors, and ensure you can feel good about the way you do business. Rather than trying to save Benjamins up front, take Benjamin Franklin’s advice and “Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”

The Most Expensive Marketing Mistake You Can Make

The Most Expensive Marketing Mistake You Can Make 900 633 Alicia East

A marketing director we will call Judy with a nonprofit we shall call Suffer No Fools came to our sister company Crew Connection upon recommendation. She was skittish. After they talked through her options and how one of our vetted crews would go about telling the nonprofit’s story, she softened. Finally, she revealed why she was skeptical.

As a nonprofit with a limited budget, they’d first hired a college student–a friend of a friend–who would produce a video for way less than anyone else she’d heard from. It was a simple job, she thought, and he could capture good quality footage without a ton of equipment.

Unfortunately, Judy had fallen victim to the idea that a good camera (for which most people can look no further than their own phones) was enough to get the results she wanted. While they’d planned to have a simple, but high-quality video at their fundraising gala that year, what they got was unusable. He filmed without a tripod (nausea all around!). He didn’t light his subjects (it would’ve taken a highly-skilled and expensive colorist to brighten the shot). And the composition of the shots were comparable to your Aunt Doris’s Facebook posts.

So they paid less than they would have if they’d hired a professional crew but they couldn’t use anything they got. That “cheap” hire turned out to be quite expensive after all.

This can happen in any marketing arena, but as the pandemic made safe on-set video production harder, videos were one of the first places to suffer. And while people were forgiving of lackluster production early on, we’re all suffering Zoom fatigue now and a polished production is as important as ever.

A Happy Ending

The next year, Judy made the case and set aside the funds to hire professionals. They’d missed a whole year of opportunity without a video that told the story and this time, they wanted to do it right. If that’s where you’re at, know this: some in-person productions are resuming and many crews are now offering remote crewing options.

It was an expensive lesson: We can’t afford not to hire the professionals.

Bottom Line

A reputable crew will have examples for you to look at. Check out their website or ask for samples that are most relevant to the project you want to do or the story you want to tell. Make sure both parties know the plan for the exact deliverables, timeline, and budget. Put it all in a contract (it protects both parties!).

Never hire based on price alone or take a chance without seeing the crew’s work. It’s just too risky to gamble on.

One of the most valuable things you get when you hire a professional video crew on Crew Connection is confidence.  Our team of professionals personally vets every crew before they make it on our database. That kind of peace of mind is priceless.

Quit Pining Away For Normal! We Have a Better Alternative!

Quit Pining Away For Normal! We Have a Better Alternative! 594 434 Alicia East

It’s 2021 and people are craving normalcy. They want to see the inside of restaurants again. They want to get massages and go to the gym. They want to hug their grandparents. What they may not want to do again? Wear pants with zippers or wait in security lines to travel for a meeting they could accomplish on Zoom.

COVID-19 has laid bare the weaknesses we didn’t know we had and the impossibilities we would be forced to make possible. Anytime we face a challenge, we have a choice. Do we pine away for what once was or do we create what could be?

What Will You Run Toward?

Instead of running away from a year that pushed us to our collective brink, let’s shift the conversation toward what we can run toward. Toward opportunities to make our systems more effective and adaptable. Toward ways we can serve our customers and clients better. Toward filling the gaps we’ve become so painfully aware of. We’ve always heard that necessity is the mother of invention. In a year with so much necessity, what will you invent?

We’ve seen some examples of people doing exactly this at our sister company, Crew Connection, where crews have figured out remote event production (a few steps up from Zoom) and how to offer pre-pandemic quality footage while keeping people safe. Check out the details here. We’re pretty proud of how they’ve adapted.

COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Can Expect For Business & Travel

COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Can Expect For Business & Travel 2560 1707 Alicia East

The first doses of the approved COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered and Dr. Fauci said, “we could really turn this thing around” by the end of 2021. So what can you expect in the coming months?

Here’s what you can expect for business and travel as the vaccine rollout continues

Business: Employers don’t usually have authority over employees’ health decision, but because this virus is deemed a direct threat, they do have a leg to stand on legally if they want to implement a mandatory vaccine policy. That said, it’s still a tricky subject, especially in these early stages, while the vaccine is approved under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Some may lean more towards encouraging the vaccine rather than requiring it, while also allowing exceptions in certain cases. Similar to the flu vaccine, some industries (i.e. healthcare) will be more likely to implement stricter policies. Get the full rundown here.

Travel: Many travelers have indefinitely hit pause on non-essential travel plans but may be itching to get out and see the world–or their families–again soon. Some destinations may require vaccinations in order to visit and some airlines have floated the idea of requiring them to fly. This post says the industry is unlikely to change much in the short term. Even as the vaccine rolls out and becomes more common, you can expect strict mask guidelines to continue, for example. Check the State DepartmentCDC, and International Air Transport Association to verify you’re meeting requirements.

Bottom Line

2020 may be coming to a close, but its effects will last well into 2021. Virtual meetings and events are still the name of the game. If you need help with yours, our sister company Crew Connection has everyone you need to pull off a remote production/shoot/event. Search for remote roles or chat with a coordinator at 303-526-4900 and we’ll tell you how.

2020 Gift Guide With Something For Everyone

2020 Gift Guide With Something For Everyone 800 533 Alicia East

As 2020 is about to get a swift kick in the butt by a weary world, we can now look to all the tech, entertainment, and experiences we’d like to gift or have for ourselves while we wait for our respective phases of the vaccine rollout. Here’s our curated list for just about everyone in your life–from the tech junkies to the minimalists!

For when your loved one is ready to give a farewell toast to 2020

Get a wine / beer club membership or a home-brewing kit if they’re extra adventurous.

For your family/quarancrew

If you’re gonna spend the better part of another 6 months with the same people, you may as well have some fun together.

For the crunchy folks

This Wellness Mama list is for the granola-bar making mamas looking for an environmentally friendly/healthy option for everyone from their kids to the grandparents.

For the tech enthusiast

45 of the best ear buds, home theater accessories, and WIFI boosters for the gamers, gear junkies, and media fans in your life.

For the minimalist

Minimalists don’t want things…at least not things they didn’t thoughtfully consider before allowing into their lives. So for people who want nothing, you’re better off either getting something very personal or sticking with experiences. Yep, it’s harder to think of ideas for that than just to grab a mug with the person’s initial on it at Target, but this list of ideas will help. 2020 may have made even average people who don’t consider themselves minimalists reconsider the amount of stuff in their homes.

For the travel lover

This might be the perfect time to buy something for travelers itching to get back out to see the planet. This list sticks to gift cards because, while those living on the edge might be ready to book a nonrefundable option, most people will probably still feel a little safer with flexible options.

Bottom Line

2020 is about to get the hindsight treatment. It’s been fun and all, but I miss hugging Grandma. If you can figure out how to wrap up a sanitized hug for shipment, please let us all know.

Not Even 2020 Can Cancel Gratitude

Not Even 2020 Can Cancel Gratitude 150 150 Alicia East

However you’re spending this holiday, it’s likely different than you expected before the regular old year of 2020 became, well, #2020. Whatever your situation, Thanksgiving is the day we’ve set aside to take a pause to remember what we’re grateful for. P.S. Science says the act of giving thanks gives us more to be thankful for. So whether you’re celebrating alone, gathering in small groups/outdoors, or waiting until next year, there’s plenty to be grateful for.

Here’s some of what makes my 2020 list of gratitude. What makes yours?

Essential workers

Shout out to our healthcare workers, delivery people, and garbage collectors–the unsung heroes who make the world go ’round. Even (especially) during a pandemic.

Friendship, in all its forms

We’ve seen and hugged them less, but they’re still there. We’ve nearly weathered 2020 and 2021 brings the promise of a vaccine and a return to some sense of normalcy. I think we can all agree to (air) high five for that.

Moderna, Pfizer, & Dolly Parton

While 2020 has felt like a decade, the pharmaceutical companies (and Ms. Parton herself) have come through with a vaccine in record time.


Does Thanksgiving have anyone else thinking about potatoes?

Schitt’s Creek

We had a third baby the day the pandemic was declared and the kids’ school shut down the next day. So while everyone else was binge-watching The Great British Bake Off, we were trying to get three meals on the table each day while remembering everybody’s names. It was literally last week that we had our first episode (pun intended) of pandemic-induced TV watching.

More time at home

I know that might be an unpopular one, and I can assure you, it’s been hard for me, too (see that whole 3rd baby/no kid care thing). This has hardly felt like the “slow down” all our friends were learning to love. But not running around all over the place and being together has had its benefits and we will be quicker to take a step back next time we’re tempted to fill our schedules to the brim again.


What makes your 2020 gratitude list?

Your Next Virtual Event/Shoot Just Got Easier

Your Next Virtual Event/Shoot Just Got Easier 800 549 Alicia East

Recording Zoom calls is acceptable during a pandemic, but what if you want to be able to use the footage well beyond 2020? And what about virtual events? When you’re talking about making sure there’s a flow between remote speakers, audience participation, online elements, and no fewer than eleventy billion cameras–you know you need the right team in place.

Our sister company, Crew Connection, has added some roles to crew profiles to meet the times. For video production, we’ve added remote producing to our long-standing remote shooter. And for events, the crews that offer remote event production are now clearly marked on their profiles.

Rest assured, Crew Connection can connect you with pros in some of the most crucial roles for your virtual shoots and events.

Virtual Roles

  • Remote Event Production– As the event’s point person, this role is responsible for setting up the event within your platform, managing the live event, and dealing with any glitches.
  • Remote Producing/Shooting– Curious how someone could produce and shoot a production from afar? Well you know they’ve figured it out. This post goes into the details of how it can be done.

Looking to hire for remote roles? Crew Connection has ’em!

Raise a Glass

You can now produce a high-quality video or event from afar. I think that deserves a toast, don’t you?

Need to Film Footage Yourself? You Have Options!

Need to Film Footage Yourself? You Have Options! 2560 1707 Alicia East

Sure, there are as many iPhones as there are stars in the (Samsung) Galaxy. Sure, people are more forgiving about production value right now. And yes, you can send a mountain of footage to an able editor over the wonderful, wacky web. But should you? Are you going to feel good about using what they produce once COVID is in our rearview mirror?

We’ve all found some workarounds for our normal processes, right? In our experience:

  • People are less interested in getting on a plane during a pandemic
  • We are shifting to virtual events and need more content than ever
  • Fully-staffed shoots are not feasible in many cases

There’s so much more to this thing than pointing a high-quality camera (which you carry in your pocket at all times) at your subject. But there are ways to get the production value you need (and will be proud of post-COVID) with support from the pros. Need to find those pros? Our sister company (Crew Connection) has the crews you need. Promise. Check their bios or ask your crew coordinator for someone who offers camera kits for self-recording.

How The Pros Are Procuring USABLE Self-Recorded Footage

Producing from a distance has become more common. Even shows like Frontline are using this method to get what they need. Ask for a crew that has a process in place for sending you a self-recording kit. Don’t try to wing this one. Without proper planning, it will be frustrating for everyone and you won’t get the results you want.

Who doesn’t love a good kit, amiright?

A crew with the chops to do it right will create and send you a kit and follow a procedure something like the following. You’ve got meal kits, craft kids, Christmas decoration kits. Why not a camera kit? Your crew will send you a package, likely including an HDSLR camera (equipped with a microphone), a lav mic, and detailed instructions on setup. They’ll also include a prepaid UPS or FedEx envelope for the return.

How will I know what to do with it?

Well, cameras can be kind of technical, but the crew will configure the camera in advance to make your job as easy as possible. Once you’ve received it, they’ll do a video chat to work out the bugs and set up the shot. From there, you’ll film a short test shot for the crew to review. They may set up another call to refine the shot as needed.

Then you’ll mail the supplies back to the crew in the packing materials they provide. That’s it! Then you just wait for the post-production magic!

What about cost?

You might be thinking you’ll save mountains of cash by filming yourself, but kit prep/shipping, collaboration between producers/DPs/and interviewees, plus the time it takes to pull this off will still be a big job for the crew.  Even so, it’s almost always less than the cost of travel to produce something comparable. Be assured that they’ll make it as easy as possible for you and you’ll be happy with the result–something you’ll be proud to use post-COVID!

Less Obvious Etiquette For Video Calls

Less Obvious Etiquette For Video Calls 2560 1709 Alicia East

If you don’t know why we’re revisiting this, well, bless you. But sometimes the things you think go without saying need to be said. I guess? But really. We’ve gathered some resources to help you be your best self on your work calls and there are probably a few things you haven’t thought of.  


Treat video calls like in-person meetings

You wouldn’t eat or do your laundry or stare at yourself in the mirror during an in-person meeting. So give your full attention to your call and look at the camera, not the screen (i.e. yourself). We all understand that there can be additional challenges and distractions when you’re working from home and I say this as someone whose kids have walked through my calls. But if you can be ready to offer a thoughtful response when your name is called and you can make arrangements to keep the time kid-free, you’ll stand apart. It’s a way to show your commitment. And even if no one else knows you’re folding laundry, I guarantee your inattention will show up at some point and in some way. 

Spend a little time setting up the shot

This isn’t about vanity. It’s more about looking alive and not being a distraction. An external camera allows you to look straight ahead, which is more natural, and more flattering, too. Sit close enough to the camera that participants see more of you than your room. It’s been an interesting phenomenon to see colleagues’ and celebrities’ and politicians’ homes, no doubt. But it’s a better experience for your co-participants if you’re the main attraction. 

Consider lighting. You can go so far as to set up a nice selfie ring if you want. At a minimum, make sure you’re not right in front of a window and position yourself to avoid a halo from your can lights. I’ll be reworking my own lighting situation for the sake of my meeting mates. 

Bottom Line

Don’t pull a Toobin. We shouldn’t have to list every single thing you shouldn’t do on camera or when you might possibly be on camera. You can invest in a camera cover or you can simply use a piece of tape. Use a post-it note if you must. Even if you think you’re muted. Even if you think you’re hidden or your camera is covered. If you wouldn’t do it in the office, don’t do it on a call. If you don’t want your mom or your kid reading about it on social media, don’t do it on a video call.  Think of it this way: When you’re on a work call, you’re at work.