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Summaries of RCT Grants

Randomized controlled trial of Apprenti: a workforce development program providing registered technology apprenticeships

This project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the workforce development program Apprenti.

Grant Recipient: Economic Mobility Corporation (Mobility)

Principal Investigators: Anne Roder, Ph.D., Economic Mobility Corporation 

Mark Elliott, Economic Mobility Corporation

Term: 2022 – 2030

Funding: $1,492,848

Summary: This project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the workforce development program Apprenti. Launched in 2015, Apprenti seeks to create new pathways to mid-level informational technology careers for low-income workers from backgrounds historically excluded from the technology industry. Through Apprenti’s Registered Apprenticeship program, apprentices receive 3 – 5 months of technical skills training ending in an industry-recognized credential, followed by one year of on-the-job training (OJT) with an employer. If apprentices are not hired by their employer at the end of the apprenticeship, Apprenti provides additional job search assistance for up to six months. Employers cover wages paid during OJT and typically the costs of technical training as well; the expected average cost of Apprenti’s services per apprentice placed in 2022 is $2,000.

While Apprenti has not yet been rigorously evaluated, it shares several key programmatic components with Year Up and Per Scholas, both of which have demonstrated large positive earnings impacts in well-conducted RCTs. Specifically, Apprenti (i) targets well-paying jobs in the tech sector; (ii) forms partnerships with employers and develops training that meets employers’ needs; and (iii) recruits workers from nontraditional backgrounds and provides supports to help ensure individuals complete their training and obtain employment. Additionally, Mobility’s initial assessment of Apprenti’s program data found that the program has been successful in placing a significant proportion of participants in jobs with starting salaries more than double their previous salaries.

Mobility will partner with Apprenti to recruit and enroll 700 individuals over a three-year period at sites in multiple states where Apprenti has an established applicant pool and business partners. The 700 individuals will be randomly assigned to either a treatment group offered Apprenti training or a control group. The study’s primary outcome is participant earnings during the third year after random assignment, measured primarily with survey data and corroborated with state unemployment insurance (UI) records where feasible.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.