Expanding Apprenticeship to New Sectors and Populations: The Experiences and Outcomes of Apprentices in the American Apprenticeship Initiative

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Expanding Apprenticeship to New Sectors and Populations: The Experiences and Outcomes of Apprentices in the American Apprenticeship Initiative

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ETA launched the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) in October 2015 and provided five-year grants to 46 grantees to expand registered apprenticeship into new sectors and to populations historically underrepresented in apprenticeships. Some AAI grantees received no-cost extensions of their periods of performance through September 2021. In April 2016, ETA commissioned an evaluation of the AAI to build evidence about the effectiveness of registered apprenticeship for apprentices and employers. The evaluation included four sub-studies (an implementation study, an outcomes study, an employer return-on-investment (ROI) study, and an assessment of a demonstration to encourage employers to adopt apprenticeship). Three reports comprised the implementation sub-study. In addition to the sub-study reports, the AAI Evaluation included five topical issue briefs.

This report presents findings from an examination of the characteristics, reasons for enrollment, program experiences, and post-program outcomes of AAI apprentices and pre-apprentices. The data sources for this study include an AAI Apprentice Survey administered between March and October 2020 to approximately 2,600 AAI registered apprentices, AAI grantee program records through 2020, and administrative earnings data.

Key findings include the following:

  • Sixty-one (61) percent of AAI apprentices were from an underrepresented population, compared to 46 percent of all U.S. registered apprentices in the Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Data System (RAPIDS). Ninety (90) percent of AAI pre-apprentices were women, people of color, or veterans.
  • Three-quarters of AAI apprentices enrolled in nontraditional occupations, including manufacturing (46 percent), healthcare (14 percent), computer/IT (5 percent), and other occupations, such as finance, transportation, and logistics (11 percent). A larger share of women participated in healthcare apprenticeships (52 percent), while a larger share of men participated in manufacturing apprenticeships (55 percent). Manufacturing also was the most common occupation for all racial/ethnic subgroups, and construction was the most common occupation for pre-apprentices.
  • At the time they responded to the survey (on average 2.7 years after enrolling), about 80 percent of AAI apprentices reported that they had completed (47 percent) or were still enrolled (33 percent) in their programs. Of those still enrolled, 76 percent reported they were on track to complete on time. Ninety percent of apprentices who completed were employed after their program and 65 percent were working for the same employer who had sponsored their program. Eighty-one percent of pre-apprentices completed their programs, 63 percent continued to a registered apprenticeship program, and 83 percent of pre-apprentices were employed after their programs ended.
  • On average, annual earnings across all AAI apprentices grew by 49 percent, rising from $35,408 in the year before the program to about $52,876 one year after program exit. Annual earnings for women grew by 65 percent from pre-program levels. Other Race or non-Hispanic apprentices had the highest earnings growth (86 percent). After their pre-apprenticeship program ended, pre-apprentices earned on average $28,150. Earnings growth was highest for AAI apprentices and pre-apprentices in computer/IT.