New Study Shows Union Apprenticeship Programs Foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Brandon Montanye
January 25, 2023
New Study Shows Union Apprenticeship Programs Foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Institute for Construction Economics Research (ICERES) released a new report on January 17, 2023, at the North America's Building Trades Union (NABTU) Opportunity Pipeline Forum in Washington, D.C.. The report, "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in the Construction Trades," sought to examine the efficacy and impact of ongoing efforts in the construction industry to promote workforce diversity - both in the union and non-union world.

The authors of the report highlight the strengths of building trades unions’ initiatives on this front. Amy Tracy Wells of Rutgers University comments within, “Many union programs to improve diversity in the trades feature substantial partnerships with community-based organizations, industry leaders, and government agencies. Community organizations are particularly important in helping…support interested workers from historically underrepresented groups.”

The report shows a willingness to interface and partner with a range of outside organizations, which enables union programs to not only recruit, but to retain and graduate apprentices from minority groups at a higher rate than non-union programs. The authors succinctly address this point: “the authors highlight that current DEI practices in the non-union sector are best characterized as ‘efforts, not programs.’” This lack of formalized development on “DEI” initiatives within non-union programs places it at a stark disadvantage to union-sponsored programs, the authors conclude.

The NYFFC recognizes that union apprenticeship programs promote not only a thorough education, but also fair treatment to all – allowing New York State to be built better, safer, and smarter.

The New York Foundation for Fair Contracting is a watchdog non-profit established to “level the playing field” in public works construction for the benefit of taxpayers, upstanding contractors, and workers.