CTE Apprenticeships

Across the United States, 120 jobs have been created during the recovery (February 2010-November 2014) for every 100 jobs lost during the recession (December 2007-January 2010) (Fogg, Haington, Khatiwada, 2015). However, Illinois ranks 46th among the 50 states in new job creation, with a recovery rate of just 67% (Fogg et al., 2015). Illinois youth consisting of both teens (16-20 years) and young adults (20-24 years) saw a drastic decrease in employment rates that started in 2001, substantially before the recessions and from which they have not recovered. On average, the employment rate of teens, in Illinois, from 2011-2013 was 27.6%, a reduction of 21.8% from the average rate for 1998-2000 (Fogg et al., 2015). During the same time periods, young adults in Illinois, had an employment rate of 60.2%, a reduction of 12.9% from the average rate from 1998-2000 (Fogg et al., 2015). Further, unemployment is substantially higher among minority and low-income youth, serving to reinforce segregation of communities and greatly reduces the potential for social mobility. Specifically, in Chicago there is a striking relationship between communities that feature high proportions of Black, Latino, and low-income individuals and high rates of unemployment among youth (Cordova, Wilson, & Morsey, 2016).

Apprenticeships may serve as an effective strategy for improving employment among youth and young adults, especially for underserved populations, little is known about the extent to which apprenticeships are currently integrated into Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in Illinois or in Chicago. To help facilitate future solutions to the unemployment issues faced by youth and young adults, the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) is conducting a study of CTE Apprenticeships in the state of Illinois, with a focus on CTE Apprenticeship programs in the Chicago area.

Goals

This baseline study is an environmental scan that is designed to describe the utilization of CTE apprenticeships in Illinois, the CTE programs these apprenticeships are embedded in, and the student populations engaged in these apprenticeships. Further, this study will examine the potential of apprenticeships as a strategy to improve employment prospects for youth and young adults, as well as, supports and barriers to scaling apprenticeships, as perceived by CTE faculty providing academic instruction in apprenticeship programs. Finally, this study will serve as a baseline for future research, by providing a clear picture of existing usage of apprenticeships and illustrating the potential to scale apprenticeships as a strategy to improve youth employment prospects for underserved minority and low-income youth.

Research Questions

OCCRL’s Illinois CTE Apprenticeships study will answer the following guiding research questions.

  1. To what extent are apprenticeships currently embedded in CTE programs in Illinois overall, and in Chicago specifically?
  2. What are the characteristics of CTE programs that have apprenticeships embedded in them?
  3. How are the apprenticeships within CTE programs structured? What are the requirements for entry into, participation in, and completion of these apprenticeships?
  4. What are the demographics of students who are enrolled in CTE programs with apprenticeships embedded in them?
  5. What is the relationship between apprenticeship and youth employment, as perceived by faculty of CTE programs with apprenticeships?
  6. What factors do faculty identify as being supportive or creating barriers to the potential to scale apprenticeships in CTE programs?

Further, this study highlights the potential of apprenticeships as a strategy to improve employment prospects for youth, as well as, supports and barriers to scaling apprenticeships, as perceived by CTE faculty providing academic instruction in apprenticeship programs. Finally, this study will serve as a baseline for future research, by providing a clear picture of existing usage of apprenticeships and illustrating the potential to scale apprenticeships as a strategy to improve youth employment prospects for underserved minority and low-income youth.

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