Project Overview

Registered apprenticeships are a promising alternative to college and pathway to high-quality jobs, but this opportunity has led to unequal outcomes.  Evidence shows Asian American, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous participants have lower completion rates and earn lower wages upon leaving programs compared with their white counterparts. Based at the Inclusive Economy Lab at the University of Chicago, this project aims to discern the drivers of racial inequalities in registered apprenticeships to design more equitable and inclusive programs, empower workers’ decisionmaking about apprenticeships, and improve enforcement of antidiscrimination policies.

The project team hypothesizes that racial inequality in registered apprenticeships arises from disparate treatment (intentional discrimination or bias) or disparate impact (race-neutral policies that lead to unequal outcomes). The team will test their hypothesis through a combination of qualitative, quantitative, and experimental methods and will build a comprehensive database of registered apprenticeship programs that shows participants’ completion rates and wages, disaggregated by race and ethnicity and age. The team will interview program participants and managers to understand the barriers to completion apprentices of color face and identify potentially inclusive practices to support their completion.