Creating an inclusive workplace benefits your organization.

lightbulv in converation bubblePerspectives on Apprenticeship – What Employers Should Know About Inclusive Apprenticeships

Are you an employer seeking to create a pipeline of diverse, untapped talent? Read PIA’s newest resource – Perspectives on Apprenticeship: What Employers Should Know About the Value of Inclusive Apprenticeship Programs. We developed this resource to help employers better understand the value of creating inclusive apprenticeships, specifically for people with disabilities, to meet their organizations’ unique talent needs.

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Did you know?

To facilitate expansion of Registered Apprenticeship programs, DOL recently awarded nearly $31 million to establish four Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance Centers of Excellence to provide technical assistance to apprenticeship programs and their enrolled trainees.

Learn more about the Centers of Excellence

Benefits to your organization

Apprenticeship programs save employers time and money to pre-screen and train candidates and build a pipeline of qualified talent. Designing these programs to be inclusive benefits your organization:

  • They create a pool of qualified, diverse candidates in high growth, high demand areas including clean energy, IT, data science, healthcare, financial services, and more.
  • They contribute to your financial success. Investing in diversity benefits an organization’s bottom line (PDF). For example, the costs of a medical assistant apprenticeship program were almost entirely recouped in the program’s first year, and the apprentices’ employer enjoyed a 40 percent internal rate of return.
  • They help you build a diverse workplace of untapped talent, bringing new perspectives to the table and supporting your diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) efforts.
  • Hiring people with disabilities leads to lower turnover (PDF).
  • They help you create a more accessible in-person and remote workplace, supporting the productivity of all employees, including those with disabilities.

Learn more about the benefits of apprenticeships.

PIA can help

We can work with you to facilitate the design of diverse and inclusive apprenticeship programs, helping to:

  • Expand your apprenticeship program to be more diverse, inclusive, and accessible.
  • Provide you with the resources, knowledge, and experience to support apprentices with disabilities.
  • Create relationships with apprenticeship intermediaries to help streamline the process for designing inclusive programs.
  • Work with apprenticeship intermediaries to source diverse candidates.
  • Understand the accessibility needs of your apprentices with disabilities.
  • Purchase accessible technology to support the success of all apprentices and employees, including those with disabilities. (Learn more about procurement from PEATworks.org.)

Get started

“It’s in a company’s best interest to be inclusive of people with disabilities because when you include us, it leads to innovation, the development of new products and services, increased productivity … a better bottom line.”

– Jill Houghton, President & CEO, Disability:IN

Employer Resources

Hidden Workers: Uncovering Untapped Talent

Research from Accenture shows how hidden workers, including workers with disabilities, can face enormous challenges finding work or increasing their hours. The reason? They’re often screened out early on by hiring processes that rely on recruitment management systems to automatically filter and rank candidates. Hiring hidden workers is not just good for the individuals concerned, it also offers real benefits to the organizations they join. Nearly two-thirds of executives hiring hidden workers report that their new recruits perform “significantly better” than average across a range of key indicators including work ethic, productivity, work quality, attendance and innovation.

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Leveraging Registered Apprenticeship to Build a Thriving and Inclusive Economy

As Governors continue to navigate an evolving labor market and economic climate, registered apprenticeship can be leveraged as a proven strategy for bolstering both businesses and workers. Scaling and sustaining robust, equitable registered apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship ecosystems is a reliable and proven approach Governors can take to ensure their state is economically competitive and that every youth and adult – regardless of race, gender, ability, prior educational background or socio-economic status – can access quality training pathways that lead to family-sustaining careers.

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Promising Approaches for Connecting Opportunity Youth to Registered Apprenticeships

Learn promising practices in building and growing successful apprenticeship programs for opportunity youth. This online resource explores promising approaches and highlights examples of activities and strategies in the following five categories: Employer Engagement; Recruiting and Engaging Youth; Braided and Adaptive Funding; Building Partnerships, Ecosystems, and Intermediaries; and Inclusive Program Design.

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Diversifying the Solar Workforce through Inclusive Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship programs that are designed to be inclusive of people with disabilities — and underrepresented groups more broadly — can play a vital role in building out the solar industry’s future workforce. This talent pipeline offers a cadre of trained and experienced job candidates with diverse skill sets, knowledge and abilities. Learn the steps to create an inclusive apprenticeship program for the solar sector in this article written by Josh Christianson, PIA Project Director, and published in Solar Power World.

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Providing Effective Workforce Development Services to Individuals with Disabilities in a Limited Resource Environment

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, in collaboration with the State Exchange on Employment & Disability, published a toolkit on “Providing Effective Workforce Development Services to Individuals with Disabilities in a Limited Resource Environment.” A return to pre-pandemic workforce standards in many cities across the U.S would only continue the trend of flat or unimproved employment rates among people with disabilities. This toolkit outlines the importance of mayoral advocacy to drive change. New initiatives can positively change the landscape of opportunity for workers with disabilities and businesses owned by individuals with disabilities.

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Inclusive Apprenticeships: Increasing Access to Clean Energy Careers for People with Disabilities

According to the 2021 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, a growing number of job opportunities abound in the clean energy sector. This sector includes jobs in industries ranging from electric vehicles to solar power installation. Although there were more than 3 million clean energy-related jobs in 2020, many employers in the clean energy sector reported major challenges in finding skilled candidates to fill positions. Registered Apprenticeship Programs can play a vital role in building talent pipelines to fill the anticipated increase in skilled clean energy positions.

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Inclusive Apprenticeships: The Importance of Accessibility

The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology posted a blog on “Inclusive Apprenticeships: The Importance of Accessibility.” The blog by Josh Christianson, director of the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship, examines the importance of creating apprenticeship programs that are inclusive and accessible to ensure everyone, including people with disabilities, can fully participate in opportunities that can add lifetime benefits to their careers.

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The Future of Apprenticeship: Inclusion, Expansion, and the Post-Pandemic World of Work

As the economy recovers from the pandemic, states are exploring a variety of strategies to strengthen an important career pathway for all, including individuals with disabilities, through apprenticeship programs in fields like state government, health care, information technology, and cybersecurity. The report incorporates input from dozens of apprenticeship program officials and experts around the country, examples from 30 states, and a comprehensive list of suggested strategies across four categories for states to consider based on programs that already have seen success around the country.

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Reasonable Accommodations for Returning Citizens with Disabilities

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses are required to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. Returning citizens with disabilities experience many barriers to employment. Providing accommodations helps returning citizens with disabilities overcome one of the many barriers to employment.

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Leveraging Partners to Serve Returning Citizens with Disabilities

While American Job Centers (AJC) play a crucial role in helping returning citizens with disabilities find and retain employment, they often do not work alone. Instead, many AJCs rely on partner organizations to help them meet the unique needs of these customers. This resource identifies partners and organizations that support AJCs and offer assistance to serve returning citizens with disabilities.

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Disability Disclosure for Returning Citizens

Returning citizens with disabilities may not be aware of the need to disclose a disability, or they may be reluctant to disclose a disability when seeking American Job Center (AJC) services. This may be due to a fear of being stigmatized or concern that the information will be shared with employers without permission. The following resource was created for AJC staff to encourage self-disclosure among returning citizens. The strategies offered in this resource may be helpful when considering disability disclosure.

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Inclusive Apprenticeship: A Summary of What We Know About Apprentices with Disabilities

Inclusive apprenticeship programs—those that support and are designed to be inclusive of apprentices with disabilities—hold promise for improving long-term employment outcomes for participants. However, little is known about the prevalence and operations of inclusive apprenticeship programs. This report summarizes current information on experiences of people with disabilities in apprenticeship, drawing on the research literature, interviews with experts on inclusive apprenticeship, and administrative and survey data.

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Perspectives on Apprenticeship: What Employers Should Know About the Value of Inclusive Apprenticeship Programs

This resource is designed to help employers better understand the benefits of inclusive apprenticeship programs and how collaborating with apprenticeship intermediaries, disability advocates, and people with disabilities can help create inclusive apprenticeship programs that enable job seekers with disabilities to gain credentials and skills to succeed in growing industries.

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AIM Policy Brief: Using Universal Design for Learning in Apprenticeship

This AIM Policy and Practice Brief identifies several practices tested in education and work-based learning programs that would benefit apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Some of the practices include co-designing programs, tools and materials alongside learners and instructors, or applying classroom-tested UDL practices that translate to the apprenticeship setting and other key practices.

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AIM Policy Brief: Funding Inclusive Apprenticeships: Strategies for Braiding, Blending, and Aligning Resources

This AIM Policy and Practice Brief identifies several common funding strategies for funding inclusive apprenticeship programs, including recruitment outreach and supportive services; monetary and in-kind support from the employer and other sources; collaborative funding to braid, blend, and align resources and services; and other collaborative funding approaches.

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Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

A leading source of free and confidential expertise and guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment. JAN helps individuals with disabilities enhance employability while offering employers guidance on workplace accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

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Improving Transition Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities by Increasing Access to Apprenticeship Opportunities (PDF)

This issue report prepared for U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) by the Institute of Educational Leadership and HeiTech Services, Inc. provides an overview of the apprenticeship program and opportunities for youth with disabilities. The report also identifies strategies for overcoming obstacles that may impact the participation of youth with disabilities.

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