abstract image

Expanding Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities to Underrepresented Populations: Findings from the American Apprenticeship Initiative Evaluation (Issue Brief)

Release Date

Oct 26, 2022

Publication Author(s)

  • Abt Associates
  • Douglas Walton
  • Karen Gardiner

Research Methodology

  • Qualitative Analysis
  • Quantitative Analysis


  • Adult
  • American Job Centers
  • Apprenticeship
  • Employers
  • H1-B Grant Programs
  • Youth

States & Territories

  • All US States and Territories


ETA launched the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) in October 2015 and provided five-year grants to 46 grantees to expand registered apprenticeship into new sectors and to populations historically underrepresented in apprenticeships. Some AAI grantees received no-cost extensions of their periods of performance through September 2021. In April 2016, ETA commissioned an evaluation of the AAI to build evidence about the effectiveness of registered apprenticeship for apprentices and employers. The evaluation included four sub-studies (an implementation study, an outcomes study, an employer return-on-investment (ROI) study, and an assessment of a demonstration to encourage employers to adopt apprenticeship). Three reports comprised the implementation sub-study. In addition to the sub-study reports, the AAI Evaluation included five topical issue briefs.

This brief examines the recruitment, program experiences, and post-program employment and earnings outcomes of AAI apprentices from underrepresented populations relative to all AAI apprentices and traditional apprentices. The AAI implementation and outcomes sub-study reports examine outcomes for all underrepresented populations. The analyses for this brief combines data from DOL program data, surveys of participants and grantees, and administrative earnings data.

Key findings include the following:

  • Nearly 54 percent of AAI apprentices were women or people of color, compared to 39 percent of all registered apprenticeships. Compared to all registered apprentices, AAI has a larger share of women and Black apprentices.
  • Most apprenticeship completers from underrepresented populations were employed, most often with the same employer that operated the apprenticeship. Employment rates ranged from 85 percent among Black apprentices to 97 percent among Other Race (or non-Hispanic) apprentices.
  • Earnings grew by about 50 percent on average between the year prior to starting the AAI apprenticeship and the year after the program was completed. Women experienced higher earnings growth than did men. Earnings growth was highest for Other Race apprentices.
  • Most of the difference in earnings growth between Black and White AAI apprentices occurred among women. A larger share of Black women apprentices than White women apprentices enrolled in healthcare, occupations with lower earnings levels and lower growth. Earnings for White women apprentices grew by nearly $22,000, whereas earnings for Black women apprentices grew by about $13,000.
  • The choice of AAI apprenticeship occupation has implications for wage growth. Average wage growth for apprentices in computer/IT occupations was the largest, followed by healthcare apprentices, manufacturing, and construction.

Final Report

Other Products