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Implementing Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Experiences of 10 American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) Grantees

Elizabeth Copson, Tresa Kappil, Karen Gardiner, Andrew Clarkwest, Hannah Engle, Abt; Alex Trutko, John Trutko, Capital Research Corporation; Asaph Glosser, Riley Webster, MEF Associates; Daniel Kuehn, Robert Lerman, Jessica Shakesprere, Urban Institute


February 16, 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) funded 46 grantees across the country to expand registered apprenticeship programs into new sectors, such as healthcare, and to populations historically underrepresented in apprenticeships. DOL commissioned an evaluation of the AAI grants to build evidence about the effectiveness of registered apprenticeship for apprentices and employers. This report presents findings from the evaluation’s implementation study. The primary data source is interviews conducted during in-person site visits to 10 AAI grantees in spring 2019 and follow-up telephone calls with grant staff in fall 2020. The report documents the design and operation of grant activities and identifies potentially promising practices, implementation challenges, and lessons for future initiatives.

Among the findings:

  • Grantees identified advanced manufacturing as an important industry for expansion of registered apprenticeship, while developing programs in IT and healthcare has been challenging.
  • Grantees registered more apprentices in manufacturing and construction than in IT and healthcare.
  • Grantees’ employer selling points focused primarily on worker productivity and customized skill sets.
  • Availability of grant funds to offset  related  technical  instruction and  on the  job  learning costs facilitated employer adoption of apprenticeship.
  • Grantees had some success registering underrepresented populations into apprenticeships.
  • Some employers used apprenticeships to train incumbent workers for higher-skilled occupations.
  • Some grantees described using pre-apprenticeship programs to prepare underrepresented populations for, and encourage their hiring into, registered apprenticeship programs.

Learn more about the AAI evaluation.