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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Report: Apprenticeship Programs Need to Better Support Black Students

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Monday, April 3, 2023   

Paid apprenticeship programs are supposed to connect workers with well-paying jobs, but they fall short on diversity, especially for Black students, according to a new report.

Researchers from a Washington think tank called the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found Black Americans comprise more than 12% of the workforce, but only 9% of registered apprenticeship programs.

Justin Nalley, senior policy analyst at the center, said millions have benefited since the National Apprenticeship Act was passed in 1937.

"Students and workers can get into an apprenticeship and not have to take on mounds of debt," Nalley explained. "[They're] able to provide for their families while learning a new skill."

The most common programs train workers in electrical services, plumbing, health care occupations and construction. The report found while 40% of all Black apprentices are in the construction trades, Black workers face rampant job discrimination. Statistics show just 5% of construction supervisors are Black, while 90% are white.

Racial disparities also persist in completion rates. The data show in 2021, 41% of Black registered apprentices completed the program, compared with 47% of Hispanic workers, 48% of white and Native American workers, and 49% of Asian and Pacific Islander apprentices.

Nalley argued programs need to provide wraparound services to make them more affordable.

"Can we make it to the apprenticeship program... transportation? 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?" Nalley outlined.

The authors want Congress to fund more state- and local-level apprenticeship programs targeting Black students. They also suggested more scheduling flexibility for parents and commuters and help to buy tools, equipment, books, supplies and uniforms.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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