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Improving Diversity and Equity in Manufacturing Apprenticeships

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January 17, 2024

At a Glance

JFF is helping to strengthen and diversify the workforces of advanced manufacturing and agriculture companies by providing Registered Apprenticeship opportunities to nearly 3,000 people. 

Myriam Sullivan Senior Director
Becky Calwell Senior Manager
Practices & Centers


Many advanced manufacturers and agriculture employers need to expand their talent pipelines and strengthen their workforces because they’re facing complex challenges in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Well-designed Registered Apprenticeship programs that provide quality jobs accessible to all workers can help employers recruit, train, and retain members of populations that are currently underrepresented in the manufacturing and agriculture workforce, including Black men and women of all backgrounds  


JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning launched the Improving Diversity and Equity in Apprenticeships for Manufacturing (IDEA-M) initiative in 2020, to help advanced manufacturers set up high-quality Registered Apprenticeship programs that are accessible to members of populations underrepresented in the industry. The goal is to register approximately 800 manufacturing apprentices per year between 2020 and 2025 and provide apprenticeship opportunities to a total of nearly 3,000 workers from underrepresented populations in that time frame. 

Through the IDEA-M program, JFF will offer manufacturers and the agriculture industry assistance in these areas:  

  • Apprenticeship program development and registration  
  • Related technical instruction 
  • Equal employment opportunity and affirmative action plan compliance  
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts 


Since 2020, the IDEA-M team at JFF has helped more than 150 manufacturers across the United States launch and expand Registered Apprenticeship programs. The project has supported nearly 3,000 apprentices, with more than half of the apprentices coming from groups underrepresented in manufacturing. IDEA-M helps to advance Registered Apprenticeship across the country by supporting outreach events, such as manufacturing-focused accelerators. JFF also supports employers as they work to make their Registered Apprenticeship programs more equitable by providing customized technical assistance. IDEA-M’s industry partners include Eli Lilly, Trane Technologies, John Deere, Ryerson, Novelis, and others. 

Thank you to our funder: U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship

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