This literature review provides a high-level review of strategies that have been implemented to address an individual’s barriers to entering Non-Traditional Occupations (NTOs). Barriers associated with entry into NTOs can prevent these populations from accessing employment in certain occupations and realizing the benefits of that employment, including economic self-sufficiency, higher wages, improved benefits, broader job opportunities and advancement potential, and job satisfaction.

This report is a high-level literature review of strategies meant to increase opportunities for employment in Non-Traditional Occupations (NTOs) – defined by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as occupations where specific populations and subpopulations are traditionally under-represented among the industry’s workforce. The specific focus of this review is to address an individual’s barriers to entering NTOs by using strategies appropriate for delivery within the public workforce system.

The literature review's findings informed discussions and in-depth investigation of specific strategies that served as the foundation for the project’s second phase – program demonstration and research. The review's scope and the presentation of findings were organized to guide decision-making related to the feasibility of implementing a demonstration.

The overarching objective of this phase of the project was to identify evidence-based strategies to address barriers associated with NTO employment that 1) may be replicated and evaluated and 2) are appropriate for delivery within the public workforce system.

Major Findings & Recommendations

Workplace- and Career-Related Strategies and Education-Related Strategies increase employment in NTOs. Workplace- and Career-Related Strategies address barriers associated with bias found in career materials, mechanisms, and policy. They also focus on individual perceptions and responses to the characteristics of NTOs and lack of support services. Education-Related Strategies typically address barriers related to the delivery of academic material as well as student proficiency, academic interest, and self-efficacy to pursue STEM-related academics.

Other promising strategies for increasing women and minority employment and earning in NTOs include:

  • Extensive job readiness training;
  • An Introduction to the trades;
  • A flexible work schedule;
  • Support services (e.g., child-care facilities and transportation;
  • Tutoring and mentoring; and
  • Establishing women and minority clubs.