“One thing about disability is it has a huge range. Everything from what a lot of people think about – blindness and visual impairment, being deaf, hard of hearing, but also increasingly cognitive impairments,” says Josh Christianson, project director, Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA).
“When you think of neurodiversity that means autism, ADHD, even mental health. It really is a broad spectrum. It covers a huge swath of the working population. It’s about one in five Americans today.”
WorkingNation sat down with Christianson at Presented by JFF Horizons – See Beyond 2022 in New Orleans.
“PIA is a project out of the Office of Disability Employment Policy from the United States Department of Labor that really focuses on making registered apprenticeships as inclusive as possible,” he says. PIA is a fairly new initiative, becoming public in March 2021.
Christianson explains how PIA helps facilitate apprenticeships for people with disabilities, “We work with employers and what are called intermediaries – people that set up apprenticeship programs for employers. We work with them to make sure their programs are inclusive and accessible and meet them where they are.”
The organization targets areas of work including health care and IT. Christianson says, “PIA focuses on what the Department of Labor calls high-growth, high-demand jobs. So those are jobs that are in demand now that they think are going to be in demand in the future.”Learn more about the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA).