On Wednesday, September 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced 46 recipients of the American Apprenticeship Grants. These grantees pledge to train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in healthcare, IT, and advanced manufacturing over a five year period.
Partnerships between employers, labor unions, community colleges, members of the workforce investment system, state apprenticeship agencies and public sector representatives will pioneer new and expanded apprenticeship programs that are replicable across the country. Grantees are also charged with increasing opportunities for underrepresented populations: women, people of color, people with disabilities, and veterans.
On the American Apprenticeship Grants website, the DOL outlines goals for the $175 million dollars earmarked for accelerating the development of apprenticeship programs in the U.S. These goals are outlined below, with examples from grantees available on the website.
- Launching apprenticeship models in new, high-growth fields. Many fast-growing occupations and industries with open positions, such as in information technology, high-tech services, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing need the high-quality, on-the-job training provided in an apprenticeship to meet their workforce needs. Today's 46 grantees are launching apprenticeships in industries as diverse as healthcare, IT, and advanced and training workers with cutting-edge skills like data analysis, mechatronics, and behavioral health assessment.
- Aligning apprenticeships to pathways for further learning and career advancement. Apprenticeships that embed industry-recognized skills certifications or reward workplace learning with college credit provide an affordable educational pathway for those who need to earn while they learn, and apprenticeships linked to pre-apprenticeship programs can help more Americans access this training and get on an early pathway to a good career. American Apprenticeship grantees are pioneering novel means to link apprenticeship to college, career, and further learning.
- Scaling apprenticeship models that work and providing a more diverse swath of America with access to apprenticeship. Across the country, there are pockets of excellence in apprenticeship, but all too often these successful models are unknown in other regions or to other employers. The American Apprenticeship grants are building strength by investing in innovations and strategies to scale apprenticeships — including to market the value of apprenticeships, make them more attractive to women and other Americans who have been underrepresented, increase the return on investment for workers and build national and regional partnerships to expand apprenticeships. Collectively, the American Apprenticeship grantees have committed to expanding apprenticeship by training more than 34,000 new apprentices by the end of five years.
The White House and DOL have also released a Progress Update on Job Driven Training and Apprenticeships, outlining the success of the Administration's jobs-driven training, which have received more than $1.2 billion in competitive grants and $8 billion in non-competitive funding for job-driven strategies. In his FY 2016 Budget, the President increased funding for job training and employment services, and called on Congress to invest $100 million in competitive grants to strengthen state and industry apprenticeships and to create a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund. The Senate and House budget bills fail to support the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), with the Senate funding of core WIOA and Wagner-Peyser employment and training programs at $650 million less than the President's Budget, and the House bill by nearly $500 million less.