Employers in the information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, building trades, cybersecurity and business services industries just got a potential boost from the federal government. That is, if they encourage their state leaders to get involved.
The Department of Labor recently unveiled a $50.5 million labor grant competition for states nationwide. The program gives states the chance to expand registered apprenticeship programs that offer a path for American workers from all backgrounds to acquire the skills and knowledge needed for good-paying jobs.
Ranging from $700,000 to $3.2 million, the Labor Dept. expects to award about 33 ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grants to help states integrate apprenticeship into their education and workforce systems, among other positive opportunities.
According to the Labor Dept., the ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grants are phase two of Labor’s $90 million funding strategy announced in April to grow and diversify registered apprenticeship.
Apart from trying to boost worker skills and wages, the Labor Dept.'s apprenticeship program looks to help employers who need more skilled workers. Research shows more than 87% of apprentices retain their jobs after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $50,000 per year. In addition, global studies report that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity, reduced waste and greater front-line innovation.
The White House has also been very active in the upskilling area, but so far, employers have lagged when it comes to provide their frontline employees with the training they need to move up in the organization.