On June 15, 2017, President Trump issued the Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeship in America. The Executive Order promotes apprenticeships to help more Americans develop employer-valued skills, obtain high-paying jobs, and enter low-cost pathways to careers through paid, relevant workplace experiences. Apprenticeship is a proven training model that helps individuals develop the skills for a career.
Consistent with the Executive Order's focus on increasing access to apprenticeship for all workers, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Women's Bureau (WB) launched a focused effort to expand women's access to quality career pathways through increased participation in apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs.
The Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant helps to expand pathways for women to enter and lead in all industries by recruiting, mentoring, training, and retaining more women in quality pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Since 2017, the Women's Bureau has awarded nearly $4.4 million to 11 community-based organizations throughout the country that help women pursue apprenticeships and provide technical assistance to employers and labor unions to support women in apprenticeships and nontraditional occupations. Through quality apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, women have access to sustainable, successful, and high-paying careers in industries such as manufacturing, infrastructure, cybersecurity, and healthcare.
In 2020, the Women's Bureau will award $4.1 million to community-based organizations through the WANTO Grant Program in order to support women pursuing apprenticeships and nontraditional occupations.
In September 2020, the Women's Bureau published the Advancing Opportunities for Women through Apprenticeship case-based resource guide to provide a framework for meaningful expansion of apprenticeship programs for women. The guide includes case studies on four high-quality, women-inclusive pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in a range of industry sectors.
The case studies were developed through on-site visits to the program locations; interviews with program staff, partners, and current and former participants; and a review of program materials and data. They provide information and insights related to partnership development, program design, and outcomes that outline how pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs can help women access family-sustaining jobs and quality career pathways. The guide identifies common strategies across the four programs to help others learn how to create programs that successfully open pathways to in-demand jobs for women through apprenticeships.