Career education, Apprenticeship programs, Vocational guidance
In order to assess the effect of pre-apprenticeship programs on the career trajectories of women and minorities in the short and medium term, PSU researchers designed a longitudinal study of individuals receiving pre-apprenticeship and retention services. This evaluation focuses on four classes of pre-apprenticeship students at Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc (OTI) and Constructing Hope (CH). Wave I of the study was administered on the first day of the pre-apprenticeship classes, and Wave II was administered at the end of the pre-apprenticeship classes. A total of 94 individuals were enrolled in the four classes; a total of 77 individuals completed the programs (76 individuals completed both Wave I and Wave II surveys).
The following are the key findings from this interim report on Waves I and II:
Socio-demographic characteristics of participants: The two pre-apprenticeship programs serve disadvantaged workers. OTI students were 100% female and 17% racial/ethnic minorities. CH students were 11% female and 54% racial/ethnic minorities.
Completion rates: The completion rate for OTI students was 87%; the completion rate for CH students was 76%.
Plans for working in the trades in the future: Between Wave I and Wave II, students in both programs became slightly more optimistic about their likelihood of working in the trades in the future.
Perceived strengths in skills: Between Wave I and Wave II, students in both programs reported higher perceptions of their skill level on items related to tools and skills needed for the construction trades, knowledge about working on construction job sites, and knowledge about trades careers. In an open-ended question at Wave II, students reported on the most important things they learned in their pre-apprenticeship program; responses included tools and skills needed for the construction trades, “soft skills” (e.g. confidence, communication, attitude), knowledge about working on construction job sites, and knowledge about trades careers. In an open-ended question asked at Wave II, students suggested that pre-apprenticeship programs include more more hands-on training and practice with skills relevant to the trades.
Attitudes towards working in the trades: Between Wave I and Wave II, students in both programs reported more positive attitudes on items about working in the trades (e.g. "In the construction trades, I will have a career, not just a job."). In open-ended questions at Wave I, students reported both financial and non-financial reasons for pursuing a career in the trades.
Perceived challenges of working in the trades: In an open-ended question at Wave I, students reported their perceptions of the changes of working in the construction trades; the most common responses related to harassment and discrimination, physical ability and skill level, and other issues related to the job (e.g. safety, long hours, being out of work). Between Wave I and Wave II, students in both programs became more aware of the challenges of working in the trades (e.g. being out of work, financial challenges).
Wave III will be conducted via email and telephone one year after the Wave I surveys and will include the 76 participants who completed Waves I and II of the survey. Wave III will follow up with participants to determine whether or not they pursued a career in the trades after their preapprenticeship program. Participants will be asked about the elements of their pre-apprentice program and retention services they view as most helpful for persisting in the trades. A final report for the study will be completed by June 2017.
Lindsey Wilkinson and Maura Kelly (2016). “Evaluation of Pre-Apprenticeship and Retention Services in the Trades: Interim Report on Waves I and II,” an interim report submitted to Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. and Constructing Hope.