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May 4 -- The Department of Labor (DOL) is soliciting comments by July 3, 2023 concerning the collection of data about the Enhancing Registered Apprenticeship Initiatives (ERAI).

In 2022, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Employment and Training Administration to fund contractor the Urban Institute and its partners Mathematica and Social Policy Research Associates to conduct the ERAI. The Evaluation aims build and share evidence about registered apprenticeship initiatives through evaluating strategies under the Apprenticeship Building America (ABA) grants program, conducting an impact and cost-benefit evaluability assessment of pre-registered apprenticeship programs that lead to registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs), and coordinating across the portfolio of projects at CEO to facilitate sharing of findings, methods, and learning about apprenticeship broadly across research teams.

The Apprenticeship Building America grant program advances the department’s efforts to expand and modernize Registered Apprenticeship by increasing the number of programs and apprentices, diversifying the industries that use Registered Apprenticeship and improving the access to and performance of Registered Apprenticeship Programs for underrepresented and underserved communities. Funding was awarded in four categories: (1) State Apprenticeship System Building and Modernization; (2) Expansion of Registered Apprenticeship Program Opportunities for Youth; (3) Ensuring Equitable Registered Apprenticeship Program Pathways through Pre-Apprenticeship Leading to RAP enrollment and Equity Partnerships; (4) Registered Apprenticeship Hubs to facilitate the establishment, scaling and expansion of Registered Apprenticeship Programs in new and fast-growing industries and occupations.

The CEO intends to design and conduct evaluations of DOL-funded apprenticeship initiatives through the ERAI project. The purpose of the project is three-fold:

(1) Design and conduct analyses that add to the evidence base on apprenticeship strategies and models through an evaluation of the Apprenticeship Building American (ABA) grants.
(2) Conduct an impact and cost-benefit evaluability assessment of pre-registered apprenticeship programs that lead to registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs).
(3) Coordinate across the portfolio of apprenticeship projects at CEO and beyond to facilitate sharing of findings, methods, and learning about apprenticeship broadly across research teams.

DOL's CEO contracted with Urban Institute and its partners, Mathematica, and Social Policy Research Associates to conduct the study of these efforts. The ERAI will address the first purpose above by conducting three implementation studies based on the four categories of the ABA grants:

(1) Implementation study of the ABA State Apprenticeship System Building and Modernization grants (Category 1)
(2) Implementation study of the ABA Expansion of RAP Opportunities for Youth grants (Category 2) and ABA Ensuring Equitable RAP Pathways through Pre-Apprenticeship Leading to RAP enrollment and Equity Partnerships grants (Category 3)
(3) Implementation study of ABA registered apprenticeship Hubs grants (Category 4)

This Federal Register Notice provides the opportunity to comment on proposed data collection instruments that will be used in the evaluations: grantee surveys for the three ABA implementation studies; surveys of pre-apprentice and apprentice participants; a focus group guide for apprentices and pre-apprentices; interview guides for ABA grantee program staff; interview guides for ABA grantee program partners, employers, and Hub customers; focus group guide for ABA apprentice and pre-apprentice participants; baseline survey and informed consent of ABA pre-apprenticeship participants; and related baseline survey and informed consent of ABA program staff.

1–3. Surveys for ABA grantees. Three surveys to all ABA grantees for each of the three implementation studies listed above. There are 5 grantees in the Study 1 survey, 19 grantees in the Study 2 survey, and 15 grantees in the Study 3 survey. These will be fielded in spring 2024.

4–5. Surveys of ABA participants. A survey of Study 2 ABA apprentices and a survey of Study 2 ABA pre-apprentices.

6. Focus group guide for ABA participants. A guide for focus groups conducted in Study 1 (5 total) and Study 2 (4 total) assuming 10 participants per group.

7–9. Interview guides for ABA program staff. During site visits, interviews with 5 program staff from ABA State grantees (study 1), 6 ABA Youth or Pre-Apprenticeship grantees (study 2), and 5 ABA Hub grantees (study 3) will occur in the fall of 2024. During these site visits, we will conduct one-on-one or small-group semi-structured interviews with program staff.

10–12. Interview guides for ABA program partners/employers. Also, as part of each of these site visits, we will conduct one-on-one or small-group semi-structured interviews with staff from program partners, including employers, training and education providers, and community stakeholders.

13. Interview guide for ABA Hub grantee customers. In addition, during site visits for the Hub grantees (Category 4) we will interview customers for which that Hub has provided technical assistance.

14. Baseline survey and informed consent of pre-apprenticeship participants. Survey of ABA pre-apprenticeship program participants to collect baseline information for potential future impact study.

15. Baseline survey and informed consent of program staff. Survey of ABA pre-apprenticeship (grant categories 1 and 2) program staff, including supervisors, instructors, and counselors, to collect baseline information and informed consent.

DOL will submit additional requests for future data collection for the overall study.

Registered Apprenticeship Initiatives Evaluation: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/oasp/evaluation/currentstudies/Registered_Apprenticeship_Initiatives_Evaluation [lists research questions]
Draft data collection instruments and technical documentation requested from DOL by AEAStat.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-09491

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