Registered apprenticeship training in the U.S. construction industry. (Glover & Bilginsoy 2005)
Glover, R. W., & Bilginsoy, C. (2005). Registered apprenticeship training in the U.S. construction industry. Education + Training, 47(4-5), 337-349.
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- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of participation in building trades apprenticeship programs sponsored jointly by employers and unions on apprentices’ program completion rates.
- The authors compared the program completion rates of apprentices who participated in registered apprenticeship programs sponsored jointly by employers and labor unions with those who participated in programs sponsored unilaterally by employers. Data on apprentices’ characteristics, program participation, and completion came from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprentices Information System and California State Apprenticeship Council databases. The authors’ analysis included apprentices in 31 states from 1996 to 2003.
- The study found that the completion rate for joint apprenticeships was higher than for nonjoint apprenticeships, but did not conduct any statistical tests of differences in completion rates.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not account for relevant pre-intervention characteristics in their analysis. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to joint apprenticeship programs; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Features of the Study
Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprentices Information System and California State Apprenticeship Council databases, this study investigated whether registered apprenticeship programs sponsored jointly by labor unions and employers were associated with higher program completion rates, compared with registered apprenticeship programs sponsored unilaterally by employers. The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, consisting of equal numbers of representatives from unions and employers, administered the joint apprentice programs. Employers’ contributions to a dedicated training trust fund supported these programs. All building trades commonly use this training trust fund model. Apprentices in programs sponsored with union participation received about 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of class instruction each year. Apprenticeship programs lasted from one to five years. Participants typically received 50 to 90 percent of journey-level wages and taught as they advanced in the program with no additional salary for this service. Programs with union sponsorship also facilitated job placement via union halls after apprentices completed their training. Apprenticeship programs not sponsored by a union were sponsored by one or more companies, varied in resources, and did not facilitate job search or placement services for apprentices.
Study participants apprenticed in building trades programs in 31 states from 1996 to 2003 that required completion of about 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. Apprentices were 27 years of age on average, 32 percent were minorities, and 3.5 percent were women.
- The study found no statistically significant relationships between apprentices’ participation in joint apprenticeship programs and their completion rates.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors did not account for study for existing differences between the treatment and comparison groups in their analysis. Varying levels of pre-intervention characteristics, such as education level or socioeconomic status, rather than the intervention, might explain any observed differences in outcomes between the groups. In addition, the authors did not employ any statistical tests to assess differences in outcomes between the treatment and comparison groups.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not account for relevant pre-intervention characteristics in their analysis. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to joint apprenticeship programs; other factors are likely to have contributed.