Apprentice School Supporting National Effort to Increase Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Published July 27, 2021

Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School is participating in a four-year effort to increase equity, diversity and inclusion in registered apprenticeship programs across the country.

“We will be sharing our best practices,” said Dr. Latitia McCane, director of Education at The Apprentice School.

U.S. Department of Labor data shows that participation and completion rates for women and minorities in registered apprenticeship programs lag. For instance, women – who make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force – comprised only about 9% of those in manufacturing apprenticeships in 2020. However, Apprentice School students are 19% female and 39% minority.

“We have been successful in recruiting and retaining minority students,” McCane said. “If you have something that works, I think it’s important to share that with others to help them accelerate and get into the space they need to be in.”

This work is part of a recently announced $13 million cooperative agreement from the Department of Labor awarded to Jobs for the Future (JFF), a nonprofit that works to make the nation’s workforce and education systems more equitable. The Apprentice School is one of eight strategic partners that will work with JFF to help other organizations increase equity, diversity and inclusion.

Apprentice School leaders will assist organizations through a number of methods, including panel discussions, workshops and written resources. McCane also partnered with Evelyn Gregory, NNS’ manager of Ethics, Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, for additional support and to share the company’s best practices.

Why does The Apprentice School fare so well when other programs struggle with recruitment and retention of women and minorities?

McCane believes partnerships with local high schools and career and technical centers like New Horizons, pre-apprenticeship programs and a diverse faculty and staff contribute to the school’s success. The Apprentice School’s student experience, including championship athletics, sets it apart from others across the nation.

“We’ve been intentional in our recruitment and retention processes,” she said.