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Apprenticeship programs get $130 million in federal grants

The U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday announced the award of more than $130 million in grants to develop, modernize and diversify Registered Apprenticeship programs in 15 states and to establish Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance Centers of Excellence in three states and the District of Columbia to provide technical expertise and services and accelerate the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship programs.

The department’s Employment and Training Administration awarded more than $99 million in State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity and Innovation grants – ranging from $2 million to $10 million – to bolster states’ efforts to expand programming and inclusive recruitment strategies to attract a diverse workforce. The awards include more than $85 million for states that demonstrated a commitment to increase their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

These grants also aim to develop partnerships with new industries and nontraditional occupations, including industry sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, and align Registered Apprenticeships with other work-based learning opportunities within state education and workforce systems.

“Today’s announcement reflects the Department of Labor’s renewed commitment to expanding Registered Apprenticeships to train U.S. workers and ensure that diversity and inclusion are core elements of our nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said. “Using Registered Apprenticeships to expand career opportunities for all workers, especially those in under-represented populations, is a priority for the department and a critical component of the Biden-Harris administration’s American Jobs Plan.”

To facilitate expansion of Registered Apprenticeship programs, the department also awarded nearly $31 million through cooperative agreements to establish four Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance Centers of Excellence to provide technical assistance to apprenticeship programs and their enrolled trainees.

Located in key areas, the RA-TA Centers of Excellence will seek to create successful and inclusive talent pipelines that meet the needs of today’s industries, workers and communities.

Centers of Excellence will provide technical assistance to employers and industry to build out model-registered apprenticeship programs across a range of industries and jobs, including those in America’s critical supply chains.

The centers will also work across public and private sector partners to expand opportunities in Registered Apprenticeship for women, youth, people of color, rural communities, justice-involved individuals and people with disabilities.

Five of the grants were for the maximum $10 million: to the California Department of Industrial Relations for Oakland, to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for Denver, to the Connecticut Department of Labor for Wethersfield, to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for Lansing and to the Texas Workforce Commission for Austin.

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation received almost $4 million for Las Vegas.

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