Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Career education, Apprenticeship programs, Vocational guidance


While white men have historically dominated the highway construction trades in Oregon, this trend is changing: of those enrolled in apprenticeships in the highway construction trades in 2005, 81% were white men; in 2015, this number was 70% (Figure 1). These changes are due in part to recruitment efforts and training offered by pre-apprenticeship programs, which are designed to help individuals build the necessary skills to meet the minimum entry qualifications to enter a trade or apprenticeship program. Pre-apprenticeships can reach not only women and people of color, but also people without family or friends in the trades, which is a common conduit for employment in this sector. Pre-apprenticeship programs also offer ongoing mentoring and support for graduates, through apprenticeship and beyond. Two such pre-apprenticeship programs in Portland are Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. (OTI), which targets women, and Constructing Hope (CH), which primarily serves people of color and those previously incarcerated, providing a second chance in the workforce. These programs work to diversify the pipeline of potential applicants entering registered apprenticeships in Oregon. Pre-apprenticeships are supported in part by funds from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Bureau of Labor Industries (BOLI) initiative to diversify the skilled highway construction workforce, the Highway Construction Workforce Development Program.

This report assesses the effectiveness of pre-apprenticeship programs in 1) preparing preapprentices for entry into the trades or an apprenticeship in the trades; 2) increasing the entry of women and minorities into highway construction trades apprenticeships and 3) increasing the likelihood that women and minority apprentices will complete apprenticeships in the highway construction trades. In order to assess the impact of pre-apprenticeship programs on the skills, perceptions, and career outcomes of women and minorities, PSU researchers designed a longitudinal study of individuals participating in a pre-apprenticeship program through Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. (OTI) or Constructing Hope (CH). PSU also relied on aggregate data from the Oregon Apprenticeship System (OAS) data base to identify OTI or CH graduates entering a registered apprenticeship. This report reflects the findings from three waves of survey data collection (2016-2017) and OAS data from the 2005-2017 cohorts of new apprentices in the state of Oregon.


This project was conducted for Oregon Tradeswomen Inc and Constructing Hope, funded by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)’s Highway Construction Workforce Development Program.

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