Those interested in apprenticeships may now have more opportunities than ever before, thanks to efforts by the U.S. Department of Labor to expand apprenticeship programs across the United States.
On October 21, the White House announced that the DOL has awarded more than $50 million in ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grants. The applicants for these grants included state economic development and workforce agencies and technical college systems, among others.
The grants, ranging in amount from $700,000 to $2.7 million, are designed to:
- Help states incorporate apprenticeships into their education and workforce systems.
- Involve industry and other partners in expanding apprenticeships to new sectors and underserved worker populations.
- Encourage and work with employers to create new programs.
- Promote more diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship programs.
ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grant recipients
Thirty-six agencies in states from Hawaii to New Hampshire received ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grants to cover programs created with a variety of partners, plans and goals. Here are a few examples of the recipients and their plans for how they will use the grant money:
Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Juneau, Alaska
The department is using its $1,019,985 grant to fund the Healthy Alaska Through Apprenticeship project. This project will create healthcare apprenticeship opportunities that include jobs such as community healthcare worker and medical administrative assistant.
California Department of Industrial Relations, Oakland, California
The department was awarded an $1.8 million grant that will fund its Investing in California’s Future project. The goal is to double the number of registered apprenticeships during the next decade and encourage high-growth, non traditional industries – advanced manufacturing, transportation, information technology and healthcare – to develop apprenticeships.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Tallahassee, Florida
The Florida ApprenticeshipUSA project, funded with a $1,498,269 grant, will create 2,500 new apprentices over 3-1/2 years. The public-private partnership will address the state’s critical demand for skilled and diverse workers in health services, construction, IT and manufacturing.
Iowa Workforce Development, Des Moines, Iowa
Using its $1.8 million grant, the Iowa Workforce Development agency has launched the Innovative Opportunities with Apprenticeships (IOWA) project. It plans to target underserved populations – ex-offenders, individuals with disabilities, minorities, women and out-of-school youth – who will be able to receive training in such nontraditional sectors as cyber security, IT, health care and business services.
Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity, Chicago, Illinois
With a $1.3 million grant to fund its Illinois Apprenticeship Plus System, the department plans to increase opportunities for women, people of color and individuals transitioning from incarceration, among others, in the transportation, manufacturing, healthcare and distribution, and logistics industries.
Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indianapolis, Indiana
The department will work with partners that include the Indiana Department of Corrections, Ivy Tech Community College and representatives of industry to expand registered apprenticeships statewide with its $1.3 million grant.
Louisiana Workforce Commission, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The commission’s Expanding Opportunities Today to Meet Tomorrows Needs project received a $1.55 million grant. It will use the money to double the number of registered apprentices in the state, as well as develop pre-apprenticeship training programs.
Thousands of new apprenticeships on the horizon
With these and many other projects in the works, there will be thousands of new apprenticeships coming up in the next few years.
As a result, those looking for a stable, well paid career with paid training and who qualify should have an increasing number of opportunities. These opportunities will not only come in traditional industries like construction and transportation, but in work sectors, including IT and high-tech manufacturing, that haven’t employed many apprentices in the past.