WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor awarded $80,639,041 in grants intended to support activities that improve states’ ability to serve, improve, and expand the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) model by strengthening the national apprenticeship system, promoting system alignment and partnership, and improving data sharing and data integrity.
The “Building State Capacity to expand apprenticeship through Innovation” grants support statewide RAP expansion through a two-tiered funding system that provides states with maximum flexibility to address local apprenticeship needs while enhancing the focus on employer engagement, performance, and positive outcomes for apprentices. Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the department awarded grants to 42 states and U.S. territories.
“Registered Apprenticeship Programs provide workers with the right skills needed in today’s labor market and can have a positive impact in fixing the skills gap that employers face,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch. “This will be a great opportunity for young people who want to combine on-the-job training with relevant classroom education, while getting paid at the same time.”
“We thought it necessary to reward states who have demonstrated excellent performance in one of the department’s key policy objectives,” Pallasch added. “The department believes positive outcomes for those we serve must carry more weight as we look to award funding.”
The department awarded funds to states and U.S. territories that applied for Tier I funding to help support the programs’ goals. In addition to Tier I funding, 12 states received additional funds under Tier II, ranging from $3 million to $9 million, based on the number and quality of Tier II applications received, as well as strong evidence of past performance in expanding RAPs; other factors included geographic, industry and Tier II goal distribution. With these additional funds, the selected states will go above-and-beyond supporting the state’s basic registered apprenticeship structures in the state. These activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
•Expanding registered apprenticeships in healthcare, mental health care, addiction treatment, or alternative pain management occupations providing support to individuals living in rural areas;
•Incorporating specific strategies to support or expand registered apprenticeship opportunities among all workers, including women, minorities, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with a criminal record;
•Supporting system alignment and partnership through the establishment or expansion of the role of the business service representatives/apprenticeship navigators with the promotion of apprenticeship to partner systems;
•Developing innovative technical assistance strategies/approaches for registered apprenticeship sponsors;
•Establishing an employer incentive plan to expand or scale registered apprenticeships;
•Identifying specific strategies to support engagement with small businesses in nontraditional industries in Registered Apprenticeships; and
•Launching or expanding sector strategies to expand RAPs to new industries and/or new or non-traditional occupations in existing sectors.
Recipients include the Kentucky Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, which will receive $450,000.