The Labor Department’s Registered Apprenticeship program is helping organizations cultivate a more diverse workforce, according to a top agency official.

In the last few years diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) has been a priority for many employers across both government and the private sector, and one key step in achieving DEIA goals is workforce diversity. And while many employers are on board for those goals, making progress can remain challenging.

“A lot of employers are fully aware and onboard of wanting to diversify their workforce. We understand the benefits of that. They just don’t know how to do that,” said Megan Baird, the Labor Department’ deputy administrator for Employment and Training Administration at the Office of Apprenticeship, during GovCIO’s Women Tech Leaders in Washington D.C. this week.

One tool that employers can use is the Labor Department’s Registered Apprenticeship program.

The department’s Office of Apprenticeship established the program to promote and help employers and other organizations develop quality, accessible Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for workers seeking higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs – and organizations seeking to build a qualified, diverse, and inclusive workforce.

According to Baird, the Registered Apprenticeship is a workforce solution that is evolving to meet industry needs and create skilled workforces that meet the demands of the changing American labor market.

Before rushing to apprenticeships, Baird explained, employers must first look at their data and “really understand who the current employees are, why people are leaving, why you’re not able to recruit within more diverse populations.”

By obtaining a clear understanding of these facts employers can strategize and decide how diversifying works best for their organization.

“Once you have this information and you decided that registered apprenticeship could be one or one of many recruitment strategies that you’re using, we are here to help,” Baird said. “We have staff in every single state staff at our national office and we’re there to really hold your hands and help employers understand how to get involved with registered apprenticeship and take those steps.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.