Apprenticeships are the most underutilized way to drive DEI initiative results.

Learn how incorporating apprenticeships can achieve measurable DEI initiative results

February 11, 2024

Despite what corporate America has turned it into, achieving quantifiable DEI initiative results is not rocket science.

First Things First: DEI Initiatives Aren't Actually Working.

…and I can tell you exactly why: 

Recruiting from universities. 

Degree requirements are a barrier to entry for about 70% of the U.S. population – plus, most college graduates are White or Caucasian (about 60%). 

It's also likely there is a bias when recruiting from these schools:

  • Proximity bias (the schools physically closest to you)
  • Convenience bias (the schools you developed a relationship with over time)
  • Prestige bias (only recruiting from Ivy League schools or other top colleges)

Do people really believe that only Ivy League graduates can do a good job for their organization, or are they just being a little bit lazy?

By recruiting exclusively from schools, they’re shutting out perfectly qualified and capable candidates just because of the opportunities they did not have access to. This is the quickest way to create a homogenous (and dull) workforce.

Not taking a holistic approach to hiring.

DEI is more than checking boxes for race, gender, age, and sexual orientation. Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you posting your job opportunities in a way that's available to diverse populations? Or are you just posting on LinkedIn and calling it a day? 
  • Are you making sure different groups are aware of your organization and, therefore, your opportunities? 
  • Are you giving flexible interviewing times for people who may be in school and also have part-time or even full-time jobs? 
  • Are your job postings and applications inclusive, or do they use silly "bro" language like "rockstars?" (Newsflash: no one cares about rockstars!) 

Putting all the DEI responsibility on the HR person.

Companies that genuinely value DEI do more than slap a new title on their HR person and say, "have at it!" 

I hate seeing this.

It is the responsibility of everyone at a company to welcome everyone and promote equity and inclusion. Limiting these initiatives to HR implies no other business functions (engineering, marketing, etc.) can promote DEI.

Instead of backpedaling and trying to fix dead-end DEI initiatives, there's a much easier way to target diverse populations and achieve equity within your organizations. 

You guessed it… it's apprenticeships. 

DEI Initiatives: Extend the Invitation

There is a false belief that there are not enough qualified people in underrepresented classes to fill open positions. 

Have you considered where you're looking?

If your business actually wants to put its money where its mouth is, there are two actionable steps you can take right now to improve your ROI on DEI.

1. Create a skills-based job description

All a skills-based job description is… is a non-shitty one. 

A skills-based job description means the job is not arbitrarily based on a college degree that isn't truly necessary for the position. 

The best part about using Apprentix is that we generate the job description for you. All you have to do is pop in the job title and a complete description of every skill that job may require spits back out.

Not only will skills-based job descriptions help you find the best person for the job, but it also creates goodwill surrounding your brand. 

When candidates see a list of responsibilities rather than requirements, they're more likely to feel good about your company.


2. Use alternative recruiting sources.

Posting on LinkedIn and Indeed is not enough to attract diverse candidates. 

If you want to incorporate meaningful DEI initiatives into your organization, you need to find alternative recruiting sites to post your skills-based job posts. 

Fortunately, Apprentix has a database of more than 140+. These are recruiting sites you probably never heard of, and our list keeps growing.

Let's say you want to open your job up to veterans – but the specific skillset they learned in the military is hard to translate into the requirements of the corporate world. 

Apprentix helps close that gap – thus opening up your candidate pool and resulting in way more qualified candidates than you could ever imagine.

DEI Initiatives: Structure = Success

Recruiting based on skills opens up the job pool, and creating structured apprenticeship programs helps you retain the talent. 

The two critical elements of a proper apprenticeship are on-the-job training and classroom learning. With Apprentix, you get to decide how to structure both.

You can customize whether apprentices will take classes before, after, or during their shift. You also can choose what costs you'll pick up, if/how much the apprentices will be paid while in class, and what the classes will be.

Apprentix works with any and every learning management system, including online learning platforms like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and even plain ol' YouTube. 

When you've determined what classes you want for the apprenticeship, you simply copy and paste the link into Apprentix. 

Our software acts as a hub where employees can view their entire course schedule, comprehension checkpoints, etc.

Like the skills-based job description, we have more than 50,000 on-the-job learning programs in Apprentix ready to go. They're all completely customizable and can be edited to suit your organization's needs better. Having robust classroom and on-the-job plans will ensure your candidates feel taken care of at your company.

The Most Important Aspect of Your DEI Initiative? Mentoring.

This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I've mentored plenty of students over the years and know how important it is for students, especially from less cushy backgrounds, to have someone there to be their cheerleader and sounding board. 

I've been privileged to build a massive mentoring organization that's helped thousands of low-income youth go to college on scholarships, and I know what it takes to run a high-quality mentorship program. 

I've taken those principles and put them inside Apprentix so you can benefit from them too. 

When you break it down, achieving successful results on your DEI initiatives is simple. 

Open up the candidate pool, ditch the arbitrary requirements, provide structure, and be there for your people. Let's go!

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