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Do Apprenticeships Help Workers and Employers?


  • Increase use of registered apprenticeships as a workforce-training model
  • Abt Global leads evaluation of American Apprenticeship Initiative
  • Evaluation results inform registered apprenticeship expansion
The Challenge

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) launched the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) to expand registered apprenticeships in the U.S. into sectors with few apprenticeships, such as healthcare and information technology (IT), and for populations underrepresented in apprenticeships. DOL awarded $175 million in five-year grants to 46 grantees across the country.

The Approach

The DOL-funded AAI evaluation includes four sub-studies that explore: implementation of the grantee programs; apprentice employment and earnings outcomes; the return on investment of apprenticeship to employers; and technical assistance efforts to help grantees increase outreach to employers to provide apprenticeships. Abt Global leads the evaluation in partnership with the Urban Institute, MEF Associates, W.E. Upjohn Institute, Capital Research Corporation, and George Washington University.

The Results

The evaluation found that apprentices’ wages increased and employers experienced a positive return on investment. AAI apprentices’ annual earnings grew by 49 percent, on average, from the year prior to starting the apprenticeship to the year after. Five years after the end of the apprentice’s time in the program, the typical employer experienced an estimated 44.3 percent return on investment--that is, for every dollar invested in the apprentice, the employer ultimately earned $1.44 in benefits.

The initiative promoted equity by expanding the registered apprenticeship model to populations underrepresented in apprenticeships (women, people of color, veterans, and people with disabilities). It also extended such programs to occupations not traditionally associated with apprenticeship programs (manufacturing, IT, healthcare, finance, transportation, and logistics.) Only eight percent were in construction-related industries, the traditional apprenticeship sector.

The evaluation generated lessons for developing and operating apprenticeship programs, particularly in nontraditional occupations and for populations underrepresented in apprenticeships.



Infographics - Select Study Findings Summarized