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To Boost Hiring Diversity, Partner With Colleges and Universities

How apprenticeships can give employers an edge

Apprenticeships are a hot topic in business media. They had already been growing in popularity in the years leading up to 2020, rising steadily in numbers since 2011. Despite a lull during the pandemic, they are again being hailed as a way to help facilitate economic recovery, particularly in terms of helping employers fill more positions in local regions and industries where there are specific kinds of shortages.

While apprenticeships can indeed play an important role in aiding economic recovery and addressing labor shortages in specific regions and industries, they can also be a powerful way of improving DEI objectives, which many companies had pledged to prioritize at the height of the Black Lives Matters protests in 2020. Simply having an apprenticeship program, however, isn’t guaranteed to achieve these objectives, and the particular ways that apprenticeships are carried out make a big difference on their outcomes.

For employers that want to maximize the benefits of apprenticeships to meet their specific needs, they would do well to look to higher education and to do so in ways that go against past conventions.

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