Apprenticeship Inclusion Models (AIM): Expanding Career Pathways for People with Disabilities

Customer: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Contact: [email protected]
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What is AIM?

Apprenticeship Inclusion Models (AIM) is an initiative sponsored by the USDOL Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to research, develop, test, and evaluate innovative strategies in existing apprenticeship programs that provide skills training to people with disabilities. To do this, Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) and its partners Wheelhouse Group (Wheelhouse), and Jobs for the Future (JFF) will work with four selected apprenticeship programs to enhance practices, innovate supports, and expand pathways for people with disabilities into high-demand, well-paying careers.

Why AIM?

Apprenticeship programs are on the rise nationally due to their capability to more efficiently connect workers with the skills they need to secure and maintain good jobs in high-demand careers.

Because apprenticeship combines on-the job training and related classroom instruction with a steady paycheck, it offers an ideal solution for the 68 percent of Americans with disabilities who are job seeking[1] and are engaged in employment-related activities. These activities may include preparing for work and the job search, actively searching for jobs, currently participating in employment, or seeking to improve their employment situation.

Check out a few resources that can help you with your apprenticeship programs

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Apprenticeship has the potential to solve a modern challenge which has some job seekers sidelined even when demand for talent is high. Driven by the 2017 Executive Order on Expanding Apprenticeships in America, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to increasing opportunities for talent development in the workplace.

The AIM initiative is specifically focused on expanding access to inclusive apprenticeships for people with disabilities to ensure equal participation by nurturing talent everywhere.

The Partners and Apprenticeship Sites

The AIM initiative is supported by DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Together with Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), Wheelhouse Group (Wheelhouse), and Jobs for the Future (JFF), AIM will guide four selected sites’ efforts to enhance practices, innovative supports, and expand pathways for people with disabilities into high-demand, well-paying careers.

Amazon, Microsoft, the Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP), and the Industrial Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program (IMT) will run apprenticeship pilots that seek to enhance supports for fully including youth and adults with disabilities.


Our Approach

During a two-year period, pilot sites will receive training and technical assistance from the operating team to test new, innovative approaches to apprenticeship. AIM will also host a broader Community of Practice for interested practitioners and stakeholders.

AIM will collect data, identify lessons learned, and enhance promising practices from the selected sites and the Community of Practice. These activities will support AIM’s key goal of informing, shaping, and strengthening national policy around apprenticeship, workforce development, and employment.

The project will yield key insights for employers and other organizations about how to implement and scale up inclusive apprenticeship as a model for supporting efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and advance people with disabilities. AIM will also contribute insights, actionable practices, and models for inclusive apprenticeship to the ongoing and robust national dialogue on apprenticeship.


To Participate and Learn More

Work with selected pilot sites began in Spring 2019. A broader audience will begin participating in the AIM Community of Practice in Summer 2019.

We encourage interested parties and organizations to join our Community of Practice by filling out this form.



AIM Resource Library

The AIM Resource Library offers summaries and links to key tools for apprenticeships, inclusive work-based learning and training, and other related materials. It shares resources to help employers and related organizations implement and scale up inclusive apprenticeship as a model for supporting efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and advance people with disabilities. These resources come from government agencies, colleges and universities, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholder groups with a significant interest in advancing inclusive apprenticeship.


AIM Quarterly Newsletter

The AIM Quarterly Newsletter includes updates on any additions to the AIM Resource Library, information on upcoming AIM team presentations, and other exciting AIM news! Please check out past editions of the newsletter here:


AIM Events

5th Annual National Apprenticeship Week

Date: November 11-17, 2019

Location: Nationwide

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a nationwide celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor that brings together leaders in business, labor, educational institutions, and Americans interested in apprenticeships to showcase the positive impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Join the celebration by hosting an event – such as an apprenticeship graduation, business open house, high school career fair, skills competition, or industry roundtable – or submitting a proclamation supporting NAW and apprenticeship.


Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Conference 2019

Date: November 17-20, 2019

Location: Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel, 999 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001

At the 2019 AUCD Conference over 1,000 community leaders, researchers, policymakers, practitioners, professionals, advocates, and students will join forces in their commitment to change the world for people with disabilities and their families. Sponsors and exhibitors of the Conference will have direct access to AUCD’s $650 million national network of directors, researchers, practitioners, and advanced-level Fellows representing university-based programs from every state and territory. Best of all, you’ll join an increasingly dynamic conversation focused on the support, inclusion, and well-being of people with disabilities, and demonstrate your organization’s commitment to this population.