Implementing Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Experiences of 10 American Apprenticeship Initiative Grantees

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Implementing Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Experiences of 10 American Apprenticeship Initiative Grantees

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In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) provided funding to 46 grantees across the country to expand registered apprenticeship into new sectors, such as healthcare and information technology, and to populations underrepresented in apprenticeships, such as women, racial and ethnic minorities, and veterans. In April 2016, DOL commissioned an evaluation of the AAI grants to build evidence about the effectiveness of registered apprenticeship for apprentices and employers.

This implementation study report profiles the grant-funded activities of the 10 AAI grantees selected for in-depth interviews. The grantees include the [E]lectrical training ALLIANCE (Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; San Mateo, CA; and Tampa, FL); Houston Community College (Houston and Dallas, TX); Managed Career Solutions (Los Angeles County, CA); Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (Worcester, North Shore, and Hampden regions, MA); Philadelphia Works (Philadelphia, PA and surrounding counties); Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board (Shenandoah Valley, VA); South Carolina Technical College System, (State of South Carolina), William Rainey Harper College (Greater Chicagoland, IL); Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (State of Wisconsin), and the Workforce Development Board of Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida Counties (Central upstate New York). Interviews with the 10 AAI grantees were conducted in-person during site visits in spring 2019 and in follow-up telephone calls with grant staff occurring in fall 2020. The report documents their design and operation of grant activities and identifies potentially promising practices, implementation challenges, and lessons for future initiatives.

Some key findings include:
• Grantees registered more apprentices in manufacturing and construction than in IT and healthcare. Grantees reported challenges to developing apprenticeship programs in IT and healthcare. IT and healthcare employers have not traditionally used apprenticeships to train workers.
• Grantees funded staff to identify employers and assist them with apprenticeship design and registration. Grantees’ employer selling points focused primarily on worker productivity and customized skill sets.
• As of September 2020, two-thirds of apprentices were from populations underrepresented in registered apprenticeship.
• The 10 AAI grantees reported that some employers used apprenticeship to train incumbent workers for more highly skilled jobs.
• Seven of the 10 grantees enrolled pre-apprentices in pre-apprenticeship programs in a range of industries and of varying lengths. Some grantees described pre-apprenticeship programs as a way to prepare underrepresented populations for, and encourage their hiring into, registered apprenticeship programs.

A previously released companion report on the AAI implementation study describes grant activities for all AAI grantees drawn on information collected through a survey.