Pre-Apprenticeship: Pathways for Women into High-Wage Careers

A Guide for Community-Based Organizations and Workforce Providers

Tools and Resources


Women's Bureau-Non-Traditional Occupations Portal. Women Build, Protect, and Move America portal. Use this site to find information and resources about women accessing higher-paying careers in transportation, construction and protective services. You can learn about training and apprenticeship opportunities, supportive services, existing research and tradeswomen organizations. You'll also find success stories, promising practices and guidance on your workplace rights.

Nontraditional Employment for Women's (NEW) Signature Projects Initiative. NEW has pioneered strong partnerships with building trade unions, contractors, developers, and owners to advance the participation of tradeswomen on New York City construction projects.

The Boston Residents Jobs Policy. This Community Benefits Agreement involves strong building trades support for including women and minorities as apprentices. The ABCD/Building Pathways pre-apprenticeship program is the construction apprentice feeder program for the building trades in the City of Boston.

The Partnership for Working Families website has a variety of resources and publications that address such topics as Community Benefits Agreements, Training and Apprenticeship Utilization Requirements, Targeted Hiring, and others. The Partnership for Working Families works collaboratively with the AFL-CIO on this initiative.

Recruitment and Selection

Chicago Women in Trades has developed a customized battery of aptitude tests based on apprenticeship partner entry tests. Their battery includes seven tests: Multiplication, Vocabulary, Measuring, Numerical Computation, Reading Comprehension, Spatial Visualization, and Numerical Reasoning. They also have physical assessment and formal interview materials available. The materials are available to others at no charge.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is used by the military to assess math and reading skills of recruits. These tests have been used successfully by the Los Angeles WINTER pre-apprenticeship program as part of its candidate assessment process.

WorkKeys is another series of tests used to assess job-related basic skills. Applied Math, Reading for Information, and Locating Information are the three assessments included in the National Career Readiness Certificate, a work credential recognized by many employers.

The Pre-Apprenticeship Panel Interview This document describes the interview panel approach used by the ABCD/Building Pathways program to evaluate pre-apprenticeship program candidates.

The Helmets to Hardhats program connects women and men from the Armed Forces with promising building and construction careers, and can be a valuable partner in efforts to recruit women veterans into pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.

The Job Accommodation Network provides online and phone support for service providers, employers and individuals with disabilities regarding testing and workplace accommodations and accessibility options.

Training Curriculum

The Multi-Craft Core Curriculum is explained in this brochure. The classroom training course was developed under the auspices of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and combines courses common to all of the building trades. A standardized pre-apprenticeship curriculum is a component. To obtain access to this curriculum, you need to partner with your local Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee and/or Building Trades Council.

The Home Builders Institute (HBI) Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) is a curriculum for pre-apprenticeship programs. It is used in many Job Corps Centers and YouthBuild programs. The curriculum covers all the fundamentals of construction. The curriculum may be obtained by contracting with HBI for a curriculum license.

Universal Design for Learning is a framework to maximize learning opportunities for everyone. This resource can help you customize instructional materials to meet individual needs.

Soft Skills to Pay the Bills is an inclusive curriculum that addresses workplace interpersonal and professional skills.

This YouTube video for the SOAR program describes the three-week job readiness/soft skills curriculum developed by the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio.

Example of Pre-Apprenticeship Program Case File Checklist. This document provides examples of the types of information to include in a pre-apprenticeship program participant's case file.


Chicago Women in Trades has developed a manual for Women in Skilled Trades that includes resources for pre-apprenticeship programs, from outreach to curriculum development to participant retention.

Examples of Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship Retention Practices contains a variety of methods used by pre-apprenticeship programs to build peer support and promote program retention.

The Working Cars for Working Families Program by the National Consumer Law Center provides leads on vehicles and helps address a common barrier to retention in training programs and employment - the lack of reliable transportation.


The ETA Sustainability Planning Guide was designed for a different workforce strategy but the ideas presented can apply to many types of programs. You may find the Key Steps in the Sustainability Planning Process particularly helpful in developing your sustainability plan.

Updated: July 19, 2018