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When Working Hard Is Not Enough for Female and Racial/Ethnic Minority Apprentices in the Highway Trades
Sociological Forum (2015)
  • Maura Kelly, Portland State University
  • Lindsey Wilkinson, Portland State University
  • Maura Pisciotta, Portland State University
  • Larry S. Williams, Bureau of Labor and Industries, Portland, Oregon
Drawing on employment records, qualitative interviews, and a survey, we explore the experiences of apprentices in the highway trades in Oregon. We demonstrate that female and racial/ethnic minority apprentices have lower rates of recruitment and retention and disproportionately face challenges with interpersonal interactions, hiring practices, and supervisory practices. Yet, we find a pervasive narrative that attributes apprentices' success to “hard work,” which contributes to the legitimacy of these inequalities. Consistent with the conceptualization of work organizations as inequality regimes, we argue that the apprenticeship system has policies, practices, and ideologies that are on the surface gender and race/ethnicity neutral, yet lead to the perpetuation of inequalities.
  • Construction trades,
  • Gender,
  • Inequality,
  • Organizations,
  • Race,
  • Workplace
Publication Date
June, 2015
Publisher Statement
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons
Citation Information
Kelly, Maura, Lindsey Wilkinson, Maura Pisciotta, and Larry Williams. 2015. “When Working Hard is Not Enough for Female and Racial/Ethnic Minority Apprentices in the Highway Trades.” Sociological Forum, 30(2): 415-438.