Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.
Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with a steady paycheck, making them an ideal solution for many Americans, including people with disabilities. Apprenticeship supports a proven pathway to middle- and high-skilled jobs but represents only 0.2 percent of the labor force in the United States (U.S.); substantially less than rates for other countries, such as Canada (2.2 percent), Britain (2.7 percent), and Germany (3.7 percent).
Work-based learning opportunities such as apprenticeships benefit all individuals in the workforce including individuals with disabilities. Research shows that outcomes for students with disabilities who participate in apprenticeships demonstrate significant benefits. Inclusive apprenticeships provide skills training to people with disabilities, such as peer-to-peer mentoring or job coaching. Over 40 million Americans live with a disability, therefore, when states develop and implement inclusive apprenticeships, they enable a significantly large portion of individuals to participate in the workforce.
Inclusive apprenticeships provide numerous benefits to states, including:
- Increased access to talent pools
- Reduced barriers to high skilled jobs, creating a workforce that can fill industry specific employment gaps
- Increased earning potential for workers resulting in an increase in spending capacity and tax base for state governments
- Greater ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce
- Lower unemployment rates
- Access to federal funding opportunities for apprenticeship expansion
- Potential to attract new industries to state
CAPE-Youth is dedicated to expanding diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship. We are here to provide your state with personalized technical assistance and direct you to existing resources.
The Texas Youth Apprenticeship Partnership launched the Texas Youth Apprenticeship Steering Committee to build awareness and support for high-quality youth apprenticeship programs among state policymakers, agencies, industry and regional leaders. The Steering Committee is led by Educate Texas and the Texas Business Leadership Council. They are developing policy recommendations and a plan for a statewide youth apprenticeship system as part of a work-based learning strategy. The Steering Committee will also identify regional partnerships ready to implement youth apprenticeship programs in high demand, high growth industries, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology (IT), energy and education.
The Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center in Virginia worked closely with the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board’s Valley 2 Virginia program to offer a manufacturing technician training pre-apprenticeship program for people with disabilities. This 16-week program allows students to learn manufacturing and workplace behavioral skills to prepare them for specialized apprenticeship programs across Virginia.
Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and Iowa Department for the Blind implemented an inter-agency referral process to assist individuals with disabilities in finding Registered Apprenticeship and Quality Pre-Apprenticeship programs. Through an integrated resource team model, the agencies can assist job seekers with locating, preparing and obtaining a position within a Registered Apprenticeship program by utilizing the passport process.
Apprenticeship.gov is the one-stop source to connect career seekers, employers and education partners with apprenticeship resources. Discover apprenticeships across industries, how programs are started by employers and how to become an apprentice.
The Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA) collaborates with employers and apprenticeship intermediary organizations (AIOs) to design inclusive apprenticeship programs that meet employer talent needs and enable people with disabilities to gain credentials and skills to succeed in growing industries.
Workforce GPS provides state sector strategies and other resources focused on developing local sector partnerships.
Apprenticeship Inclusion Models (AIM) Briefs:
This brief presents a detailed overview of the Ticket to Work (TTW) program and examines registered apprenticeship programs as an option for helping people with disabilities to access sustainable gainful employment through the TTW program. The brief offers considerations and recommendations.
During a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession, apprenticeship programs can face disruptions. This brief identifies several key factors that representatives of inclusive apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs identified as critical and that established a foundation for program resilience. These include: (1) diversity of funding, programs, and partners; (2) responsiveness to changing labor market demands; (3) participant support services; and (4) contingency planning.
In this brief, project directors and stakeholders of inclusive apprenticeship programs share several common strategies for funding their programs including: (1) identifying resources for recruitment outreach and supportive services, which are necessary for programs to ensure they are inclusive; (2) leveraging monetary and in-kind support from employers and other sources to cover the costs of each component; (3) implementing collaborative funding approaches to braid, blend, and align resources and services to meet the unique needs of participants and the particular context of the program; and (4) incorporating specific strategies that support collaborative funding approaches.
Pre-apprenticeship (PA) programs are focused on preparing participants for entry into Registered Apprenticeship programs. The brief outlines several recommended strategies for making PA programs accessible for people with disabilities. These suggested strategies help make PA programs more inclusive, foster Universal Design, and enhance accessibility for youth and adults with disabilities. In turn, supporting accessibility for apprenticeships enables employers to access a broader pool of talent and job seekers with disabilities to attain needed occupational skills training, employment and financial security.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) offers a way for organizations to improve their programs and services while addressing accessibility concerns and increasing the pool of qualified candidates. UDL guidelines may be applied to recruitment, assessment, workplace training, and related instruction efforts that make up apprenticeship programs, as well as to general approaches to offering supportive services. This brief identifies a number of practices tested in education and work-based learning programs that would benefit apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
Additional Resources and Blogs:
- Building Inclusive Apprenticeships: Webinars Discuss Design and Funding Strategies
- Building Resilience: How Inclusive Apprenticeship Programs Are Responding to COVID-19
- Industry-Led Apprenticeships Emerging as a Pathway to Employment
- National Apprenticeship Week
- Inclusive Apprenticeships: How States are Supporting Skills Training for People with Disabilities
- Kentucky Paves the Way for Public Sector Apprenticeships
- The Future of the Workforce: Approaches to Increasing Access and Inclusion
- Utilizing Public Sector Apprenticeships to Improve Employment Outcomes
- Work Matters: A Framework for States on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities