The IRLE apprenticeship program is designed to involve Berkeley undergraduates more deeply in the research life of the University, with a focus on projects exploring the dynamics of working life and labor markets. The Program provides opportunities for you to work with faculty on the cutting-edge research projects for which Berkeley is world-renowned. As an apprentice, students will work on faculty research and learn advanced research skills, explore fields that interest them, and find out what it is like to be an academic at the world’s premier research institution.
Faculty and undergraduates from all of the schools and colleges at the University of California at Berkeley are welcome to participate. This program is modeled on the university program, and follows similar guidelines.
- Spring 2018 Projects and Participants
A prison to school to employment pipeline?
Although there is now a large literature on the relationship between criminal justice system involvement and labor market outcomes, it focuses almost exclusively on low-skill work. We will engage in a set of research projects that explore the contours of the labor market for college graduates with criminal records. How do employers looking to hire those with AA or BA degrees evaluate candidates with a felony and/or prison record? What are the formal policies around background checks at large employers in the Bay Area? To what degree and under what circumstances does a college degree weaken the stigma of a felony or prison record? Former prisoners are increasingly enrolling in and completing college, but their prospects for long-term employment with a college degree are unclear. Higher education in prison is again being considered as a policy option for improving the life outcomes of prisoners and for reducing recidivism. From a policy perspective, is a college degree a viable pathway toward economic and social reintegration of former prisoners?
Mentor: David Harding (Sociology)
The Shift Project
The Shift project examines the contours, causes, and consequences of unstable and unpredictable work schedules in the retail sector. Drawing on data from tens of thousands of surveys for retail workers at large first in the United States, we describe scheduling practices experienced by low wage workers, examine their consequences for worker and family health and wellbeing, test the firm level predictors of precarious scheduling, and evaluate new policies to regulate these practices. Marianne Motus will work to scrape data from the internet to help build a data base of establishments that can be linked to the survey micro-data.
Mentor: Daniel Schneider (Sociology)
Student: Marianne Motus
Formerly Incarcerated Individuals’ Perceptions of and Experiences with Fair Chance Employment Initiatives
In response to the substantial employment barriers that the justice-involved face, which has resulted in very poor employment outcomes for this group, various levels of government have implemented fair chance employment initiatives to improve access to job opportunities for those with criminal records. “Ban-the-Box” is one example. While a limited number of studies have gauged the effect of such policies on employers’ hiring patterns, to date no studies have explored their impacts on the perceptions and labor market experiences of the justice-involved. To fill this gap in the literature, we ask the following set of questions: To what extent do the justice-involved know that such policies exist, and what do they know about them? How effective do they believe such policies to be for increasing access to jobs? To what extent do these policies affect justice-involved individuals’ own patterns of job search? Finally, to what extent and how does race, class, and gender inform justice-involved’s perceptions and experiences?
Mentor: Sandra Smith (Sociology)
Networked Production, Jobs and Inequality in the U.S.
In recent decades the U.S. has experienced dramatic shifts in the organization of production toward increasingly networked forms. These changes appear to have consequences for jobs and inequality in the U.S. Recent research has shown that inequality between firms—rather than within them— is one of the main contributors to overall inequality in the U.S. This suggests that changes in the structures of production networks are an important area of study to inform our understanding of rising inequality. My research investigates these changes and what they have meant for workers, in particular low wage workers. I explore why networked production is happening, in what ways it is happening in key industries, and what its impacts are on regional labor markets. It will include a broad quantitative assessment of domestic networked production across the U.S., as well as a mixed-methods case study of the food services industry in Silicon Valley, California.
Mentor: Jessica Halpern-Finnerty (Center for Labor Research and Education / UC Davis Geography)
Student: Sriya Srinath
Impact of the Public Employment and Minority Political Representation on Minority Labor Market Progress
Project description: This project seeks to understand whether minority political empowerment is linked to economic opportunity in the form of labor market gains for the historically disenfranchised groups, such as African-Americans, Latinos, and other racial/ethnic minorities. We aim to provide evidence that voting rights protection by the federal government is linked to improved wages, better employment opportunities, and other economic benefits.
Mentor: Abhay Aneja (Haas School of Business)
2018 Early Childhood Workforce Index
Update to the 2016 Early Childhood Workforce Index. A 50-state report tracking working conditions and public policies related to the early childhood workforce.
Mentor: Caitlin McLean (Center for the Study of Child Care Employment)
Student: Martha Fiehn
Necessary Evil or Public Good: The Origins of the U.S. Early Care and Education Debate and Its Impact on Contemporary Approaches to Reform
Necessary Evil or Public Good will examine the disputes that characterized the beginning of formal early care and education and analyze how these unresolved issues continue to mold contemporary options for reform. Specifically, this project examines the movement for free kindergarten, and the ramifications of the inclusion of kindergarten into the public schools for services focused on children from birth to five.
Mentor: Marcy Whitebook (Center for the Study of Child Care Employment)
Student: Nayada Katavetin
Rethinking economic growth and performance
Using average income (GDP) to measure economic growth and evaluate economic performance does not allow us to address the two major economic challenges of inequality and climate change. Instead we must take a holistic approach to evaluating economic growth that includes how resources are shared (inequality) and environmental degradation (sustainability).
Mentor: Clair Brown (Economics)
- Information for Faculty
IRLE will invite affiliated faculty to submit projects for the 2018-19 academic year in April 2018.
- Information for Students
Eligibility: registered undergraduate students with a GPA of at least 2.8
We will be accepting student applications in late spring 2018 for the 2018-19 academic year
- What IRLE Offers
1. Review student applications and forward the top 3 candidates for each project.
2. Present four workshops for apprentices to discuss experiences, address concerns, and find community in IRLE. Workshops will include: (1) finding data and organizing data, (2) presenting findings, (3) conducting a literature search and creating an annotated bibliography; and (4) reviewing the history of labor and employment / IRLE. IRLE can offer additional support for specific software, methods, and data sources required for specific projects.
3. Support for participating faculty and students in managing the apprenticeship relationship.
4. Space and computer access at IRLE for apprentices to do work for faculty and to network with staff researchers.
5. IRLE will organize and host a research showcase in May for students and faculty to discuss their projects.
Questions? Contact IRLE’s Education Program Manager Harpreet Zoglauer, email@example.com