Reporter’s notebook

Photo: Matthew Dembicki
  • Bill supports more apprenticeship opportunities for African-Americans
  • House hearing on pathways for dislocated workers
  • Michigan college offers stipends for good attendance

Bill supports more apprenticeship opportunities for African-Americans

A House bill introduced this week would provide federal funding to make registered apprenticeships more accessible to young Black professionals.

U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia), chair of the House Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) introduced on Wednesday the Jobs, On-the-Job ‘Earn While You Learn’ Training and Apprenticeships for Young African Americans Act. The legislation would encourage the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to work with African-American organizations and labor unions to recruit and hire African-Americans in registered apprenticeships. Blacks have one of the lowest rates of participation in apprenticeship programs.

“The untapped resources of our nation’s apprenticeship programs can aid Black workers to break into careers with the security to weather economic crises, but only if we work together to ensure these programs better reflect America,” Scott said in a release. “With this legislation, we can address the barriers Black workers face in employment and take a strong step toward building economic equity for underserved communities.”

The bill would:

  • Create a diversity and inclusion administrator position at DOL to promote and assist greater African-American participation in registered apprenticeships (RAs).
  • Support the recruitment, employment and retention of African-American and other nontraditional Black populations in programs under the national apprenticeship system in high-skill, high-wage and in-demand industry sectors and occupations.
  • Target high-earnings occupations in construction, welding, electrical engineering, plumbing, information technology, energy, green jobs, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and cybersecurity.
  • Update the RA application process requiring new sponsors to include a plan to boost African-American participation in their apprenticeship programs.
  • Establish a competitive grant program for eligible RAs to create, increase or expand African-American participation in traditional and non-traditional apprenticeship industries.

House hearing on pathways for dislocated workers

The House Education and Labor Committee on May 27 will hold a hearing on creating employment pathways for dislocated workers. Witnesses have not yet been announced.

The hearing is part of a series the committee is holding as it prepares to begin work on reauthorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is the nation’s main job training legislation.

Michigan college offers stipends for good attendance

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) is expanding a free summer college prep program to include a $500 stipend for students who meet attendance goals.

Bridges to College – Raider Ready is a summer program for graduating high school seniors to help boost math, reading and writing skills before they attend GRCC or another college. The program is open to all high school graduates of the class of 2020 or 2021 who plan to attend a college this fall.

More than 100 students so far have signed up for the program, according to the college. GRCC is providing all students with a laptop and wi-fi hotspot for use in the program and for as long as they are enrolled at GRCC.

The $500 stipend is intended to offset any lost earning opportunities or cover expenses. The college also will provide breakfast and bus passes.

About the Author

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