WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that $100 million in grants are available to expand registered apprenticeship programs in high-skilled, high-growth industries like healthcare, biotechnology, information technology and advanced manufacturing. Registered Apprenticeships have long been known as one of the best training models for skilled trades ("earn while you learn"), yet the model remains underutilized in the United States. This unprecedented investment will help to transform apprenticeships for the 21st century and serves as a catalyst to increase the use of apprenticeship to meet employer needs in these sectors.
"An apprenticeship is the 'other 4-year degree'. It is a tried and true job training strategy that offers a reliable path to the middle class, with no debt," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez who announced the grant opportunity during a visit to the Urban Technology Project's Information Technology registered apprenticeship program in Philadelphia. "I encourage everyone to apply for this federal grant so that we can significantly scale apprenticeships opportunities for many more Americans in new industries and occupations."
Approximately 25 grants from $2.5 million to $5 million each will be awarded using funds collected from employers who use H-1B visas to hire foreign workers. Programs funded by this initiative will provide U.S. workers with training to fill jobs that 1) are projected to hire a substantial number of new workers; 2) are being transformed by technology and innovations that require 21st century skills for workers; 3) are new and emerging industries and/or businesses that are projected to grow; or 4) have a significant impact on the economy overall.
Apprenticeship grants will be awarded to public and private partnerships consisting of employers, business associations, joint labor-management organizations, labor organizations, community colleges, local and state governments, and other non-profit organizations. Successful applicants will use the federal funds to develop registered apprenticeship programs that align with other post-secondary education and create career pathways to long-term careers. The grants will also encourage greater access to apprenticeship opportunities for historically underrepresented populations including women, young men and women of color, people with disabilities, and veterans and transitioning service members.
Funding applications must be submitted by April 30, 2015. The Funding Opportunity Announcement, which includes information on eligibility and how to apply, is available at http://www.grants.gov.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to view additional online resources at http://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/.