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Expanding Registered Apprenticeship: American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) Grantees and Their Programs

Karen Gardiner, Elizabeth Copson, Andrew Clarkwest, Daniel Kuehn (Urban Institute)


September 29, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) provided funding to 46 grantees to expand registered apprenticeship into new sectors, such as healthcare, and to populations underrepresented in apprenticeships. DOL commissioned an evaluation of the AAI grants and this report presents implementation study findings based on a survey of all grantees conducted approximately four years into the five-year grants. The report documents the design and operation of the grantee apprenticeship programs and identifies promising practices and challenges that can inform policy and program design.

Among the findings:

  • Grantees successfully registered apprenticeship programs and diversified occupations under the first large-scale federal apprenticeship expansion initiative in the U.S.
  • Many grantees sponsor registered apprenticeship programs, most commonly college grantees and other nonprofits, as well as sector-based organizations.
  • Grantees successfully recruited women and other underrepresented populations for apprenticeships, with close to three-quarters of AAI apprentices from underrepresented groups as of December 2019.
  • The majority of apprentices are incumbent workers, indicating that employers use apprenticeship to train new workers and to train existing workers to become competent in a skilled occupation.
  • Dedicated recruitment staff and financial supports to employers are associated with progress toward apprenticeship targets.
  • Despite progress, employer recruitment challenges remain, stemming particularly from employer reluctance to develop apprenticeships.

Learn more about the AAI evaluation.