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Equity Unleashed - A New Era of Apprenticeship Begins

Updated: Mar 6

Equity Unleashed - Empowering Voices, Building Financial Futures is a multi-event series designed to empower, inform, and uplift the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)  ages 18-29, employers, and talent developer partners residing in Los Angeles County, in designing what an equitable workplace and workforce mean to them. One of our goals of Equity Unleashed is to engage attendees in a co-design process to create a more equitable and inclusive apprenticeship system that allows everyone to succeed.

In December 2023, LeadersUp launched the first event in the series, which brought together over 60 young adults to learn about the latest trends and developments in apprenticeship programs, network with others, and share their expertise.

Here are some key takeaways from the first event:

  • Participants surveyed are primarily between the ages of 18-32, of which only 13% consider apprenticeships to be a viable option. 

  • Transportation remains a barrier for everyone across the map, a majority of the participants indicated that they are saving for a car.

  • When asked what would be an ideal route economic freedom would look like, almost half responded with business ownership.

Survey results from our participants:

While a majority of the participants are underemployed, there are only a few who are enrolled in skill development programs. There is a clear need for financial literacy in long term wealth building.

This indicates a big challenge ahead to change the perception of apprenticeship and its role in economic freedom.

Our six dimensions of economic empowerment inspired new thoughts and ideas on how to achieve a life that sustains you financially and personally. We presented our dimensions under the framing of a “Build-a-BAG” workshop. Balance Active Growth (BAG) is an essential way to hold onto one or several dimensions:

  • The Entrepreneur: Embracing the spirit of innovation and resilience, we discuss how to foster an environment where aspiring entrepreneurs can thrive and learn from failures to build successful businesses.

  • The Community Member: Recognizing the powerful impact of community engagement, we explore strategies for nurturing professionals who are not just skilled but also socially responsible, striving to make a difference in their communities.

  • The Worker: As experts in their fields, workers continuously challenge themselves. Our discussion will focus on how employers can support continuous learning and career advancement, recognizing and developing expertise.

  • The Saver: Financial literacy and stability are crucial. We will talk about integrating financial planning and budgeting skills into career development, ensuring individuals are prepared for emergencies and retirement.

  • The Consumer: Understanding the role of consumption in economic empowerment, we delve into how individual purchasing decisions can reflect personal values and needs, influencing broader economic trends.

  • The Learner: In a rapidly evolving world, being a lifelong learner is key. We'll explore how continuous learning and skill adaptation can be integrated into the workplace, benefiting both the individual and the organization.

  • Want to build your own BAG? Download the worksheet here for yourself and your talent community:

The Equity Unleashed launch event was a huge success, and it is clear that there is strong momentum from young adults in sharing what safety, opportunity, and power means to them in the workplace. We are excited to continue working with our partners to develop innovative apprenticeship programs and create a more equitable and inclusive apprenticeship system.

If you want to learn more about Equity Unleashed and how to get involved, please visit our website at or contact John Roberson at

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