From small organizations to billion-dollar corporations—even The White House, efforts are underway to create career opportunities for underrepresented, underserved population groups. Employers are increasingly prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and considering how intersectionality plays a role in their hiring and training practices. Inclusive apprenticeship programs offer opportunities for job seekers with disabilities from diverse backgrounds to sharpen their skill sets and pursue career paths through work-based learning that is accessible to everyone.
79% of employers who offered us their perspective agreed that creating an apprenticeship program would benefit their organization’s bottom line.
“Inclusion is top of mind for employers. It’s time to disrupt traditional hiring models and propel professionals with disabilities into high-growth, high demand fields through inclusive apprenticeship programs.”
– Josh Christianson, Project Director of PIA
Investing in the Future
The White House has affirmed its commitment to investing in the future of work, helping create jobs for underserved populations, including job seekers with disabilities, in high-growth, high-demand industries. The Administration has expressed its eagerness to expand access to Registered Apprenticeship programs and pre-apprenticeship programs and has prioritized apprenticeships and workforce development in industries focused on clean energy and infrastructure. The majority of employers we connected with said they were more likely to use or expand an apprenticeship program as an approach to reduce time spent on training new hires. As employers invest in the future of work, inclusive apprenticeship programs can help them do just that and more—providing organizations with a broad talent pool, saving them time and money, and more. These programs can help set their organizations up for success in years to come.
The majority of employers we connected with said they were more likely to use or expand an apprenticeship program as a way to spend less time on training new hires.
Bolstering DEI Efforts
Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts (DEI) are underway. Job openings for diversity and inclusion-focused careers are on the rise, indicating that employers are ramping up efforts to enhance diversity of their workforces. In fact, 75% of employers that gave us their input said their companies have plans for attracting candidates with disabilities. However, only 50% of employers communicated to us that they considered apprenticeship programs as a way to create a pipeline of candidates with disabilities. Creating inclusive apprenticeship programs that recruit and support people with disabilities can be a contributing factor to fulfilling organizations’ DEI goals. As an added bonus, employers that champion the inclusion of workers with disabilities in the workplace earn 28% higher revenue. Inclusive talent pipelines, such as apprenticeship, can help promote greater workplace productivity and innovation!
“We often talk about a skills gap. It really is a bit of a talent gap. A lack of access to talent, struggles to find talent, and bringing talent into organizations efficiently—that’s what is often constraining growth in companies. People with disabilities are one of the largest under-tapped talent pools that can help close this gap.” – Vinz Koller, Social Policy Research (SPR) Associates
Employers leading organizations in growing industries are seeking ways to recruit and retain qualified workers. HR professionals cited hiring from non-traditional sources as one potential solution to closing this gap. What’s more, 34.2 percent of people with disabilities are in the labor force and are actively seeking or working in jobs. Apprenticeship programs can bring a wealth of untapped talent to fill critical positions in high-growth, high-demand industries. Inclusive apprenticeship programs not only bolster an organization’s DEI efforts, but they create a new pipeline of apprentices that have been trained to be successful in the organization where they work.
“There are a significant number of job opportunities in high-growth, high-demand industries. Yet, employers can’t find qualified candidates to fill these roles. Hiring apprentices with disabilities brings fresh talent and unique perspectives to companies and has the added value of bolstering diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.” – Jennifer Carlson, Apprenti
The majority of people with disabilities that connected with us, and who have participated in an apprenticeship program, said the top reason they pursued an apprenticeship was to develop skills in a career pathway. People with disabilities who have not participated in an apprenticeship program communicated to us that they are most interested in careers in growing industries; they seek careers in growing industries that include clean energy, healthcare, finance, human resources, business, cybersecurity, data science, software development, and engineering.
The present time offers an opportunity for employers to innovate and reshape the structure of apprenticeship programs to ensure access for talented job seekers with disabilities and bring a wealth of untapped talent into the workforce. Building a pipeline of apprentices has significant benefits to organizations, including saving time for recruitment, training new hires, and creating a cadre of trained apprentices that could become full-time employees with little to no additional training.
Job seekers and workers with disabilities who connected with us are interested in pursuing careers in growing industries including: clean energy, healthcare finance, human resources, business, cybersecurity, data science, software development, and engineering.