The Value of Inclusive Apprenticeships

Employers and apprenticeship intermediaries who make their
apprenticeship programs inclusive of people with disabilities can save time and money throughout all stages of the employment lifecycle, from recruitment and onboarding to on-the-job training.

The Benefits of Apprenticeship

79%Higher Productivity

In a study of over 4,000 employers, 79% selected improved productivity as an anticipated benefit of apprenticeship.1

people at computerReduced Training Costs

LaunchCode found that the out-of-pocket costs for hiring a fully trained worker are $6,500 compared with $5,000 for recruiting and training an apprentice – a 30% cost savings.2

89%Lower Turnover/Reduced Recruiting Costs

89% of registered apprentices demonstrated a 3-year retention rate.3

people connectedFoster a Wider Talent Pool

Apprentices who completed their apprenticeships stay with the company to become employees in over 90% of reported cases.4

graph and dollar symbolSignificant ROI

In 2020, the average RAP yielded a 170% return on investment for North Carolina employers.5

“Apprenticeships [are a] tried-and-true method of having employers not just be consumers of talent, but actual producers of talent. And in fact, all businesses are in the talent development business, whether they know it or not.”
~Vinz Koller, Social Policy Research Associates and PIA Partner

The Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities

Significant ROI

Companies that embrace best practices for employing and supporting more persons with disabilities in their workforce experienced 28% higher revenue, 200% higher net income, and 30% higher profit margins.6

Higher Productivity

97% of HR professionals say that employees with disabilities regularly perform the same or better than their peers without disabilities.7

Lower Turnover/Reduced Recruiting Costs

At four Walgreens locations, the 3-year average turnover rate was 48% higher for team members without a disability as compared to team members with a disability, which saves on recruiting and training costs.8

Lower Error Rates/Absenteeism

Employees with disabilities experience 34% fewer workplace accidents than the rest of the population,9 lower error rates,10 and have fewer scheduled absences11 than those without disabilities.

Increased Innovation

Companies with above average diversity produced 19% more revenue from innovation than companies with below average diversity.12

Fosters a Wider Talent Pool

26% of adults have a disability,13 but only 29.1% of working age adults with a disability are employed, compared to 70% of working age adults without a disability.14 10.7 million more employable Americans could enter the job market if companies embrace disability inclusion.15

Attracts New Employees

Job seekers prefer employers who are inclusive.16 76% of employees and job seekers said a diverse workforce was important when evaluating companies and job offers.17

Increased Customer Base

87% of consumers prefer diverse companies.18

Funding Sources

dollar symbolEmployers that sponsor a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and/or hire people with disabilities may be eligible for financial incentives, state-specific tax credits, a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) up to $9,600, tuition support, and federal funding through legislation, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The Apprenticeship Inclusion Models (AIM) for Youth and Adults with Disabilities developed a policy and practice brief, “Funding Inclusive Apprenticeships: Strategies for Braiding, Blending, and Aligning Resources,” which contains specific examples of how inclusive apprenticeship programs are funded.

More information is available at and the Federal Resources Playbook.


Michigan is a national leader in registered apprenticeships. In 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlined a Sixty by Thirty Goal to increase the number of working age adults with a high quality industry certificate, associate degree or higher from 49% to 60% by 2030 and close the skills gap in high-growth, high-demand careers. As of 2021, in support of this goal and as part of the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) is providing training and employment services to underrepresented groups with skills needed for registered apprenticeships in the energy sector.

The State of Michigan offers additional services and funding incentives for employer-sponsored RAPs:

Going ProGoing PRO Talent Fund

The Going PRO Talent Fund, formerly Skilled Trades Training Fund, offers up to $3,000 per trainee to offset training costs.

MAT SquaredMAT2

Based on the German apprenticeship model and the first in the U.S. to receive approval from the German Chamber of Commerce, MAT2 provides mechatronics and CNC training. The state offers $5,000 grants to offset employer training costs.

M ApprenticeMichigan Apprenticeship & Funding Resource Guide

Additional funding resources in the State of Michigan may be available to employer-sponsored registered apprenticeship programs.

StarRegistered Apprenticeship Grants

In July 2021, LEO was awarded a $10 million federal grant, which will be used to establish Michigan Statewide Targeted Apprenticeship Inclusion & Readiness System (MiSTAIRS). In March 2021, Michigan awarded $6 million in registered apprenticeship grants to nine regional consortia. Both the grants will expand registered apprenticeship for youth and underrepresented groups. The grants will also help support the RAP costs, including on-the-job training and related technical instruction.

Interested in exploring RAPs across Michigan or creating your own registered apprenticeship program?

Check out the Michigan Registered Apprenticeship Data Dashboard for the latest demographic info on active apprentices, occupations, and industries. Contact your local MI Apprenticeship Works! Success Coordinator to create your own registered apprenticeship program.

Michigan Career & Technical Institute
Apprenticeship Intermediary

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO)
State Apprenticeship Expansion

United States Department of Labor (USDOL)
Michigan Office of Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship Case Study

Branden HillmanBranden Hillman of Battle Creek, MI graduated from the Industrial Electronics program at the Michigan Career & Technical Institute (MCTI) in 2016. MCTI is a unique residential occupational training facility focused on training individuals with disabilities for competitive integrated employment in the skilled trades. Branden applied for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local #445 Electrical Apprenticeship program in Battle Creek during his final term at MCTI, passed the IBEW entrance exam and was accepted into their apprenticeship training program. Despite interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Branden has successfully completed the 5-year IBEW Apprenticeship, and as of August 2021, Branden Hillman is a Licensed Journeyman Electrician in the State of Michigan. Learn how MCTI can benefit your business.


  1. Ipsos MORI, “Department for Business Innovation & Skills Research Paper No. 213 Apprenticeships Evaluation: Employer,” p. 6, August 2013.
  2. Case Western Reserve University and U.S. Department of Commerce, “The Benefits of and Costs of Apprenticeship: A Business Perspective,” November 2016, p. 55-58.
  3. ApprenticeshipUSA, ApprenticeshipUSA Toolkit, p. 18.
  4. U.S. Department of Labor Employment Training and Administration, Press Release, 18 September 2020.
  5. North Carolina Community Colleges ApprenticeshipNC and NC Department of Commerce Labor & Economic Analysis, “North Carolina Apprenticeship Program Survey Report,” October 2020, p. 5.
  6. Accenture and produced by AAPD, DisabilityIN, “Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage,” 2018, p. 7.
  7. SHRM, “Employing Abilities @Work 2019 Research Report,” October 2019.
  8. Kaletta, James P., Douglas J. Binks and Richard Robinson, “Creating an Inclusive Workplace: Integrating Employees with Disabilities into a Distribution Center Environment,” Professional Safety, June 2012, p. 64.
  9. Workplace Initiative and Job Accommodation Network, “Disability Employment and Inclusion: Your Guide to Success,” 1 May 2018, p. 11
  10. Cisco LifeChanger, “Transforming Lives Through Technology,” 2017.
  11. Workplace Initiative and Job Accommodation Network, “Disability Employment and Inclusion: Your Guide to Success,” 1 May 2018, p. 63.
  12. Levine, Stuart R., “Diversity Confirmed to Boost Innovation and Financial Results,” Forbes, 15 January 2020.
  13. CDC, “Disability Impacts All of Us” 16 September 2020.
  14. U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics – 2020,” 24 February 2021.
  15. Accenture and produced by AAPD, DisabilityIN, “Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage,” 2018, p. 4.
  16. Miller, Jennifer, “For younger job seekers, diversity and inclusion in the workplace aren’t a preference. They’re a requirement.,” Washington Post, 18 February 2021.
  17. Glassdoor, “Diversity and Inclusion Workplace Survey,” 30 September 2020.
  18. Workplace Initiative and Job Accommodation Network, “Disability Employment and Inclusion: Your Guide to Success,” 1 May 2018, p. 8.