Data Collection Plan
A solid understanding your impact on women’s access to skilled trades apprenticeships is informed by collection and analysis of data. Tracking some basic information about who you are reaching and whether they are succeeding can help you to achieve your goals, improve your program outcomes, and in some cases, secure funding.
At a minimum, applications to your program (whether it is advisement-based, pre-apprenticeship, or apprenticeship or other job opportunity) should ask for the following information from every applicant:
- Zip code
- Veteran status
- Number of children
- Educational attainment level
- Current income level
- Current use of SNAP or other public assistance programs
Designate a basis for comparison to set equitable diversity goals
There are many ways to compare the diversity of apprentices against a baseline and set related goals for underrepresented populations. Year-over-year comparison is one method. Another option is to compare participation rates against averages for a geographic region – the state, for example, or the nation as a whole, either for all trades apprentices or your specific trade. The best of all these options would be to compare the rate of inclusion of diverse apprentices with the available workforce in the region, while keeping in mind that in most metropolitan regions that as population grows, it also diversifies. Pro-actively planning to increase the inclusion of underrepresented populations will be necessary to keep up with demographic changes to any region.
Use existing data to set specific, achievable, incremental “micro-goals” for diversity
Basing diversity goals on existing data is the most efficient and achievable approach to increasing the number of women in apprenticeship. Goals for including women (and men of color) should be aligned with gaps identified in various stages of the recruitment, application, and retention of underrepresented populations; these goals can be viewed as “micro-goals.”
For example, if evaluation of data reveals that few applications are being received by women, then increased outreach to women should be a micro-goal, with an intended outcome of more women picking up apprenticeship applications. Another example of specific goal setting could relate to the rate at which a particular population returns applications compared to the overall number of applications taken by that population. If black men return a lower percentage of the applications taken than white men, an appropriate micro-goal would be to increase the rate of applications returned by black men.
Use demographic data submitted on applications to enhance recruitment targeting
While existing data on active apprentices is a useful window through which to look at diversity in trades apprenticeship, there are additional ways to employ demographic data submitted through apprenticeship applications. Analysis of all submitted applications (not just applications of admitted apprentices or job seekers) can assist program and hiring managers in identifying populations that are applying, but not successfully entering apprenticeship. It may be the case, for example, that a lack of entry level job experience prevents women from being competitive applicants. In this example, partnership with a pre-apprenticeship program, entry level employer, or other partner can help provide training opportunities that will ultimately result in qualified, diverse applicants.
Evaluate diversity growth plans using time series data
Evaluation of diversity of apprentices should be viewed not as a snapshot in time, but as a trend over time. Diversity statistics are best understood when compared on a year-over-year basis, and we recommend using five year increments as indicators of progress toward meeting diversity goals. Setting smaller incremental goals for growth in diversity can help to create larger changes over a longer period of time. Because of the nature of workforce demand in the construction industry, it is not always possible to demonstrate gains in employment and diverse apprentices every year. Recognizing that fact while planning for long term growth permits greater flexibility in diversity plans.