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Teach, Learn, Change

A Diverse Technical Assistance Strategy for Equal Employment Opportunities in Apprenticeship

The team at Maher & Maher are experts at digging into complex policies and developing dynamic, digestible technical assistance (TA) and training for diverse audiences.

The US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship (OA) has been focusing for the last couple of years on increasing diversity in apprenticeship programs, both in terms of the industries that use apprenticeship as a workforce development tool and the demographics of apprentices themselves. Maher is partnering with OA on that mission, creating TA for both national staff as well as for State-level grantees.

In December 2016, the regulations regarding Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) measures for apprenticeship programs were updated for the first time in nearly four decades. The previous EEO regulations for apprenticeship were published in 1978. Since that time, many aspects of the workplace have changed dramatically. The updates reflect the realities of the diverse workplace of the 21st century. The regulations take into account modern approaches for increasing diversity and protecting against discrimination, as well as the need for businesses to access all of the nation's talent in order to thrive.

OA pledged to stakeholders to provide significant TA and training on the new EEO regulations, and asked Maher to help make that happen.  It became the job of the Maher team to help define the audience, purpose and goal of the materials, and then to develop TA and training that would have real impact for practitioners in the field.

Maher first worked with OA to launch a new Apprenticeship EEO webpage to coincide with the release of the regulations, and to serve as the go-to location for all information on EEO.  The next step was to design a set of resources to make the EEO provisions easy to understand – and create practical tools to make them easy to implement.  One example is the Anti-Harassment Training Program, which is a suite of materials designed to assist apprenticeship sponsors meet one of the new requirements in the updated regulations. The sponsor of an apprenticeship program is the employer or other entity that administers the program and reports on its progress to the agency with which it is registered.

These materials had to be created in such a way as to provide useful information for both apprenticeship sponsors and the apprentices themselves. And because the EEO regulations required that this training be interactive, the materials were developed with that in mind. The star feature among these materials is an animated video outlining what constitutes unlawful harassment and what apprenticeship programs are expected to do to stop such harassment from happening.

Additional materials for the Apprenticeship Anti-Harassment Training included:

  • A PowerPoint presentation for sponsors to present, designed to elicit discussion among apprentices about different real-world scenarios, and
  • An online assessment that apprentices can take on their own after viewing the video to make sure they absorbed the information.

Maher also created some supplemental materials, including Frequently Asked Questions, a tip sheet for apprentices and a fact sheet for managers.

Throughout the development of these pieces around the EEO regulations, the Maher team has focused on creating TA that would be useful to a wide audience.  We worked to balance this sometimes-sensitive topic with the strict regulatory language to which apprenticeship sponsors must adhere. Our process and learning will be useful as Maher continues working with the Office of Apprenticeship on creating more TA and training around the updated EEO regulations.

Is new guidance or regulation coming up for your organization? Are you wondering how to educate your practitioners and help them embrace change?

If you’re working on a tough challenge, we’d like to hear about it. Contact Layli Oliver at LOliver@mahernet.com.

Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is U.S. Department of Labor’s national technical assistance provider supporting the Employment and Training Administration’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a number of other priority initiatives of the administration that advance and promote the public workforce system. Maher is also currently involved in a number of sector strategy, regional planning, organizational strategic planning and training initiatives in multiple state and regional areas. For more information about our services, visit our website or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.

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