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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

Celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary

In the month of July, we celebrate the anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Office of Apprenticeship is committed to supporting Inclusive Registered Apprenticeship Programs that are accessible to all people, including individuals with disabilities. Learn more about the ways that the Department of Labor is supporting people with disabilities in Registered Apprenticeship from our fact sheet and DEIA resource page. Discover how the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA), an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), is helping employers design Registered Apprenticeship programs that create a pool of qualified candidates with disabilities in growing industries.

Learn about Kayla Franklin’s inspiring journey with American Apprenticeships Work and Udacity

Apprentice Success Story – Keep Accomplishing Little Things and Eventually, You Will Get to the Big Thing


 Before he found an apprenticeship in the food service industry, Vikram Durci tried on many hats: working at a local grocery store, at a factory, in construction, as a dietary aide, and for a waste hauling company. None of those hats fit very well. Vik has a cognitive disability that makes communication difficult. “I had a hard time saying the right thing. People would get upset with me, and I didn’t always know why. Conflict resolution was, and still is, tough,” he says. “There would be people around me in the lunchroom, but nobody would really talk to me. I felt like an outcast through most of my life.”

Life is different for Vik now that he’s working with Torch 180, a restaurant and cafe in Fowlerville, Michigan, that trains and employs people with disabilities in the food service industry using a Registered Apprenticeship model. Coursework combined with careful guidance of a mentor has helped Vik learn the food and safety skills he needs to excel as a lead kitchen worker. Perhaps as important, he’s also learned critical communication skills. Or, as he puts it, he’s learned “to be more open to people . . . not to be so judgmental . . . to let things slide . . . to just keep trying. It has made me realize everything is not set in stone. It’s not always black and white.” These are skills, he says, that are helping him in all areas of his life.

Torch 180 founder and President Rhonda Callahan experienced homelessness and poverty, an experience that galvanized her to find a way to assist others that was not intrusive or judgmental. She and her co-founder “. . . landed on the idea of serving food because it is a necessity and binds people. We knew it would be a way to bring togetherness to difficult situations that people around our community face.”

For anyone considering an apprenticeship, Vik gives it two enthusiastic thumbs up. “Apprenticeship is not for the faint of heart, but once you get through it, it is a huge accomplishment. Keep chugging along and you will get there. You keep accomplishing little things and eventually, you will get to the big thing.” Vik’s big thing was to be a cook. And thanks to the skills, training, experience, and support he’s gained under the apprenticeship, Vik was recently promoted to cook!

How Apprenticeship Can Help Build a Strong, Diverse Workforce

Apprenticeship is a workforce solution that actively promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace - including race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. You can view resources below to learn more about the ways that the Department of Labor is supporting different aspects of diversity in apprenticeship to create more inclusive and equitable workplaces.

Man in wheelchair

Designing Inclusive Apprenticeships

Get tools to help ensure all aspects of your apprenticeship program are inclusive and accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Women in Apprenticeship

Women in Apprenticeship

Discover how the Department of Labor is supporting women so that they can secure good paying jobs through apprenticeship.

ODEP Resources

People with Disabilities in Apprenticeship

Learn more about the ways that the Department of Labor is supporting people with disabilities in apprenticeship.

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Three organizations formed their own network and programs for tradeswomen.

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Community colleges employ strategies to attract and retain female workers in non-traditional fields.

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Seeking to include those with employment barriers, including English language learners.

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Technical Assistance

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility RA TA Center – Jobs for the Future (JFF) - This Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance Center provides strategies and customized support to employers, education providers, intermediaries, and government entities to drive diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in Registered Apprenticeships.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and advancing DEIA

In 2016 the Department of Labor released updated Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations for Registered Apprenticeship Programs to help businesses reach a larger and more diverse pool of workers. When all workers, including women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities, have the opportunity to become apprentices, we tap into our nation's full potential and open new career pathways for American workers. Learn more about EEO quality standards in apprenticeship programs using our EEO page.