Funding opportunity for apprenticeships

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced $150 million in grants to support sector-based approaches to expand apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors.

The program aims to accelerate the expansion of apprenticeships to new industry sectors, and to increase apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans, according to DOL. It added that there are more than 6.6 million job openings in the U.S., many of which require advanced skills.

Grant funds will go to higher education institutions in partnership with national industry associations. Public-private partnerships are required for eligibility. The application deadline is October 16.

Veterans, military spouses, service members re-entering the civilian workforce and underrepresented groups in apprenticeship, including women, people of color and ex-offenders will benefit from their investments, the department said.

“The expansion of apprenticeships makes the greatest workforce in the world – the American workforce – even stronger,” Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in a press release. “This funding is an investment in America’s workforce, will contribute to competitiveness by helping job creators meet increasing demands for skilled workers, and meets the nation’s need for family-sustaining careers.”

DOL will award up to $150 million in H-1B funds to 15 to 30 apprenticeship programs, with awards ranging from $1 million to $12 million. The grant size will depend on the size of the targeted industry sector and the proposed scale of the apprenticeship projects, according to the department.

Funding will go to projects designed to:

  • Expand apprenticeships to occupations that have not typically used apprenticeships to bring new employees into the workforce, including information technology, advanced manufacturing, banking and finance, and healthcare.
  • Increase the level of apprenticeship activity among a range of new employers within these industry sectors, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Promote a sector-based approach to large-scale expansion of apprenticeships that include a paid, work-based learning component and a required educational or instructional component that results in issuing an industry-recognized credential.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.