This brief synthesizes and outlines what we know about challenges to achieving equity for underrepresented populations in apprenticeship. It introduces several ideas that have been proven successful in building connections to apprenticeship through recruitment, preparation, and retention activities.

Several strategies have demonstrated success in diversifying apprenticeships. Specifically, the report identified the following:

  • Creating stronger recruitment and referral systems into apprenticeship programs.
  • Creating new pre-apprenticeships or aligning existing job-training programs to apprenticeships.
  • Enhancing services that increase the retention and success of apprentices.
  • Using a wide range of partners effectively increases the recruitment of diverse candidates such as community-based organizations (e.g., women- or youth-serving entities), neighborhood centers, affordable housing groups, and churches.
  • Establishing pre-apprenticeships that further align with the entrance requirements for apprenticeship programs.

There is still much to learn about equity, diversity, and inclusion in apprenticeship. Most of these findings and lessons are based on experiences in construction and with women. As the apprenticeship system grows to include non-trade sectors such as information technology and financial services, we need to learn more about how to achieve greater equity in these other industries and with other populations. Future research should focus on the perspectives of population-serving organizations/training providers and exploring how to get them equipped to connect to the apprenticeship system, thus, potentially resulting in the diversification of apprenticeship.


Major Findings & Recommendations

Major Findings:

  • The wage gap between men and women has only slightly narrowed since the 1963 Equal Pay Act when women earned 59 cents for every dollar paid to men.
  • Currently, women are still paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, with African American women typically making only 63 cents, Latina women only 54 cents, and Native American women only 58 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
  • Candidates with “African American-sounding names” receive fewer callbacks from human resources than their “white-sounding” counterparts.
  • Having access to social capital and networks is still one of the main avenues toward getting a job. People of color tend to have less access to break into these networks, thus perpetuating inequality.
  • In the trucking industry, women continue to face sexual harassment issues.
  • In addition, occupational segregation endures and keeps women out of high-paying construction and other jobs.
  • Since 1963, the traditional construction work continues to be a hostile environment for women and people of color.
  • In 2016, 5.6 percent of active apprentices in federally registered programs were women, 22.3 percent identified as Hispanic, and 10.1 percent as black. Also, both women and people of color are overrepresented in the lowest-wage apprenticeship programs, and the lack of diversity within apprenticeship severely limits the future growth of programs.

Recommendations:

Several strategies have been demonstrated to diversify apprenticeships. Specifically, advancing equity can be done by creating stronger recruitment and referral systems into apprenticeship programs, creating new pre-apprenticeships or aligning existing job-training programs to apprenticeships, and enhancing services that increase the retention and success of apprentices.