Inclusive Apprenticeships: Working for Employers

Need a proven solution for finding and retaining qualified workers? Consider the tried and tested method of apprenticeship, which can help employers develop a highly skilled workforce and grow their business. Apprenticeship programs are available in a wide range of occupations, including traditional fields such as construction, as well as high-growth fields like healthcare and information technology (IT).

Of course, key to the success of any workforce program is inclusion, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reminds businesses that apprenticeships can provide a career pathway for individuals from many diverse backgrounds, including people with disabilities. In fact, this month, the department released its final rule updating equal employment opportunity regulations for Registered Apprenticeship programs to help businesses reach a larger and more diverse pool of workers.

In this spirit of diversity and inclusion, DOL has released a new video highlighting the many ways apprenticeship works for employers. Titled “Apprenticeship Works,” the video includes interviews with representatives from four organizations who manage or sponsor apprenticeship programs. The featured programs span various fields and feature numerous apprentices with and without disabilities.

Edison Freire, director of technology for the School District of Philadelphia, is one of the employer sponsors featured in the video. “It’s been proven that diversity in the workplace can enrich and make you more competitive,” he says. “Apprenticeships can become the vehicle to help a company diversify.”

His colleague and the school district’s chief information officer Melanie Harris also offers valuable advice about apprentices with disabilities. “I would say to any employer that had any hesitation about hiring someone from an apprenticeship program with a disability, or quite frankly anybody with a disability, that the energy and excitement that someone brings to the job and the desire to learn really should be your only focus — and that’s worked out for us tenfold.”

This video for apprenticeship sponsors is one in a two-part series; the other, catalogued under “Apprenticeship Recruits,” focuses on the value of apprenticeships to apprentices themselves. To access both, and learn more about inclusive apprenticeships, visit the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s “Apprenticeship” web page.

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