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WI working family advocates shine a spotlight on Reps' voting records; a new report says that Phoenix area can't meet groundwater demands; Nevada sporting community sends top 10 priorities to Gov. Lombardo's desk.

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The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

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Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Report: Apprenticeship Programs Need to Improve for Black Workers

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Monday, March 27, 2023   

Labor leaders and various industries recently celebrated the 85th anniversary of a federal law that laid the groundwork for registered apprenticeship programs in the United States, including in Minnesota.

But policy experts say meaningful opportunities are still hard to come by for Black workers.

Apprenticeships are positions where workers can earn while they learn - meaning they can master specific skills while on the job.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has issued a new report that says structural barriers still limit success for Black workers through these programs.

The Center's Senior Analyst for Workforce Policy, Justin Nalley, said it starts with enrollment.

"Black apprentices only make up 9% of registered apprenticeship programs," said Nalley, "but we make up 12% of the workforce."

There are also gaps for Black workers in completing these programs, and the ones that do are often excluded from higher-wage jobs. And Nalley said data collection is an issue, with many programs not including race in their reporting.

Available data for Minnesota show that in 2021, people of color made up nearly 20% of apprentices, but the information wasn't broken down for specific racial groups.

In seeking program equity, Nalley said administrators should weave in support for "wrap around" services and scheduling flexibility - noting these are common barriers for Black workers wanting to advance their career through an apprenticeship.

"Can we make it to the apprenticeship program? - transportation," said Nalley. "Do we have somebody to be able to watch [our] kids? - child care. Are we able to provide lunch for that day? - food services. Are we able to afford the equipment and materials that it takes?"

Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor issued grants aimed at modernizing apprenticeships and boosting representation of workers of color in registered programs.

Currently, roughly 600,000 apprentices are enrolled in programs across the country.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.




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