Apprenticeships Are The Answer To Advancing Black Workforce, New Data Says

Many may not realize it, but trade work can lead to incredibly lucrative careers and new data says the sector is the way to economic prosperity for Black America.

This is according to OneTen – a coalition of executives and companies committed to advancing one million Black individuals without four-year degrees into family-sustaining careers. They recently a case study developed in partnership with Cleveland Clinic and Grads of Life analyzing skills based employment.

The findings paint a picture that shows access to skills-based apprenticeships is a pivotal way to generate success in helping advance Black talent into more senior roles, however the group is trailing behind in terms of equitable access to high-paying programs. Although apprenticeships were highly popular decades ago, they’re around, and are aimed at creating work experiences for students without formal education in a trade. These programs usually produce opportunities for participants to make entry into careers like construction, coding, business, plumbing and welding.

There are about 210,722 apprentices currently employed in the United States with 69.3% of them being white, followed by Latinx workers (18.5%). Black workers sit at just 7.7%.

“We know that skills-based hiring is a catalyst for change, especially for Black talent. It’s thrilling to see OneTen coalition members like Cleveland Clinic put their commitment into action to exemplify how transformative this work can be,” said Maurice Jones, CEO of OneTen in a news release. “Our hope is that even more employers will be emboldened by this sense of possibility to adopt these key learnings and hire, promote, and advance more Black talent into family-sustaining careers.”

“Increasing our hiring and promotion of diverse talent has always been important to Cleveland Clinic and aligns directly with OneTen’s mission. Joining the coalition has helped us to improve our workplace inclusivity practices,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic and the holder of the Morton L. Mandel CEO Chair.

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