States Receive $50.5 million in Federal Grants for Apprenticeship Programs

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprenticeship programs provide significant benefits to both businesses and employees. Apprentices are able to earn on average $50,000 per year while in employer-paid training programs that allow the apprentice to earn a two- or four-year degree.  Over their lifetime, apprentices earn an average of $300,000 more than their non-apprentice peers. For businesses, there is typically a return of $1.47 for every dollar invested in apprenticeship programs. The programs also correlate with lower turnover rates and improved productivity, and provide a custom-trained and experienced workforce for businesses. As a result, apprenticeships are used to train more than 400,000 Americans in more than 1,000 occupations. 

Skill development and apprenticeship programs are becoming integral parts of state workforce and economic development strategies. In October 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $50.5 million in grants to help states develop and implement comprehensive strategies to support apprenticeship expansion. Grants were awarded to 36 states and one territory with grant awards ranging from $700,000 to $2,700,000.

Following are examples from the ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grant Summaries of a few of the projects funded. 

  • The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries was awarded $2.7 million to fund Project RAISE, to coordinate state agency resources, recruit new employers, and advance Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for underrepresented populations. The project will register 600 apprentices in the industries of health care, education, construction, advanced manufacturing and the public sector, among others. Target populations include women, veterans, youth, low-income individuals, people with disabilities and people of color.
  • The Connecticut Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Training (OAT) was awarded a $1.6 million grant to fund the Connecticut Apprenticeship Expansion Rx project, which targets the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance sector. The project will serve 1,672 apprentices. Target industries include aerospace, aviation, energy, and the building trades.
  • The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation was awarded $700,000 to fund the South Dakota Apprenticeships Build Careers (SD ABC) project, which increases the number of pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships in the Healthcare, Skilled Trades, and Advanced Manufacturing. The project will serve 100 apprentices with a focus on women, Native Americans, limited-English proficiency individuals, youth, and people with disabilities.


Further reading resources:

Council of State Governments, Top 5 Issues in Workforce Develpment, Capital Ideas, January/February 2017

Council of State Governments, Apprenticeship Programs a Key Workforce Strategy in States 

Manufacturing Institute, The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond