The Wisconsin department of workforce development issued a report in 2010 on the small number of minority and women who participate in construction trade apprenticeships. Trade apprenticeships are one of the most effective ways for non-college youth to earn above market salaries, benefits and job security.
The summary is here: Report Highlights: Minorities and Women in Construction Trade Apprenticeships.
The full report is here: An Evaluation: Minorities and Women in Construction Trade Apprenticeships.
The report had three recommendations: 1) Centrally track the number of minorities and women who apply and participate in Construction Trade Apprenticeships, 2) require local trade committees to develop new affirmative action plans every 5-years, 3) monitor compliance with state requirements to use apprentices on state contracts and 4) give apprentices 180 days to sue for discrimination.
First, you have to admire Wisconsin for going even this far. They actual use the word "Affirmative Action". And they did created the report which exposed the discrimination by the labor committees. It is hard to imagine any sort of follow up now that Scott Walker-R is Governor of Wisconsin.
Minorities and Women have long been closed off from participating in these valuable apprenticeship programs. The lack of access is due to pure discrimination: both historical and current.
Few states and cities and been able to do much about the issue due to the "tyranny of the majority" (Tocqueville, Guinier). Essentially, certain types of policies require the support of the majority to be workable. Policies to reduce discrimination are frequently thwarted by a majority who believe minorities increase competition for jobs, lower wages, and steal jobs from non-minorities. Many construction workers also have a sense of "entitlement to employment" not seen in other job categories.
So, this is about three years to late, but hats off to Wisconsin's department of workforce development.
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