Registered apprenticeship programs have changed over the decade. While once known to serve individuals in the construction trades, registered apprenticeship programs have now expanded into IT, advanced manufacturing, business and finance, healthcare, and more. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported that about 90% of all apprentices served were male and more than 42% of apprentices were from a diverse background.
AACC, through the ECCA initiative, is focusing on increasing diversity by focusing registered apprenticeship programs to be more accessible to women and minorities. Progress has been incorporated with minority workers, but the share of women apprentices remains low, despite the fact that 57% of community college enrollees are women and 55% are from minority populations.
Other populations to consider are people with disabilities. Between the ages of 18 to 64, 37% of people with disabilities are employed. Work-based learning apprenticeship programs are suited for people with disabilities. Another untapped and undervalued group of individuals would include employees ages 50 and older and the prison population. What is less well-known is that, on average, more than 8% of registered apprenticeship entrants each year are individuals who are currently incarcerated.
AACC encourages executives of colleges to further explore these are untapped populations that already attend community colleges and are well suited for registered apprenticeship programs. Because community colleges can develop new programs quickly dependent on demand, they are well suited to create and implement apprenticeship programs in new occupations, giving opportunity to a broader population of students.
ECCA Success Stories and Promising Practices
- Arapahoe Community College (Colorado)
- East Los Angeles College (California)
- Midlands Technical College (South Carolina)
- College of Southern Nevada (Nevada)
- Jessica Toglia. 2020. Diversifying Apprenticeship: Acknowledging Unconscious Bias to Improve Employee Access Center for Apprenticeship & Word-based Learning.
- Daniella Zessoules and Olugbenga Ajilore. 2018. Wage Gaps and Outcomes in Apprenticeship Programs: The Effects of Gender, Race, and Region Center for American Progress.
- Gretchen Cheney. Growing Equity and Diversity Through Apprenticeship Center for Apprenticeship & Word-based Learning
- State Exchange on Employment and Disability. 2019. Apprenticeship Resources for State Policymakers. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.
- Diversity and Equity in Apprenticeship Programs: Community Colleges Can Make a Difference. 2020. Jobs for the Future
- Whitehouse, Elizabeth, Kyle Ingram, and Bobby Silverstein. 2016. Work Matters: A Framework for States on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities. Lexington, KY: Council of State Governments; Denver: National Conference of State Legislatures.
- ODEP, “Apprenticeship Works for Inclusion: A Guide to Helping People with Disabilities Explore Inclusive Career Paths” (Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, ODEP, n.d.).
- ODEP, “Apprenticeship Works for Business: A Guide to Building Inclusive Workplaces” (Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, ODEP, n.d.).
- ODEP, “Introduction to the Apprenticeship Toolkit: Youth with Disabilities Entering the Workplace through Apprenticeship”
- McGrew, A., & Hanks, A. (2017). The case for paid apprenticeships behind bars. Center for American Progress.