Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Elsie Harper-Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Myung Hun Jin

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Huff

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Najmah Thomas


The skills gap debate has raged among scholars and policymakers for the last few decades. The key questions are whether the gap exists, the extent of the gap and how to minimize the gap. Of particular concern is a skills gap for middle-skills occupations. Since 2014, the federal government has invested over $500 million in registered apprenticeships as a strategy to address the skills gap. Likewise, Virginia has invested over $7.5 million and implemented policies such as VA Executive Order 49 (EO49), to expand registered apprenticeships as a workforce strategy to diminish the skills gap.

The goal of this research was to examine the impact of registered apprenticeships on the middle-skills gap in Virginia prior to and after the implementation of EO49. Using secondary data, this study first determined if Virginia had a middle-skills gap and the extent to which registered apprenticeship positions are being created in occupations that have a middle-skills gap. Next, logistic regression was employed to examine the likelihood of a registered apprenticeship being in an occupation with a middle-skills gap comparing results before and after implementation of EO49.

Results confirm there’s a middle-skills gap in Virginia and a majority of registered apprenticeship positions are filling middle-skill occupations with a gap. However, registered apprenticeships are less likely to fill middle-skill gap occupations after EO49 than prior to its implementation. While registered apprenticeships are having an impact on Virginia’s middle-skills gap, it appears policies and money put in place to encourage the relationship did not enhance the likelihood.


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