$50.5 Million Available for Apprenticeship Programs

Posted By: Gretchen Schultz, Director of Workforce Development, Tooling U-SME on August 03, 2016

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that $50.5 million is available this year through the ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grants initiative.

This investment marks the first time that the Federal government is providing funding to support States in their efforts to expand and diversify Registered Apprenticeship to better respond to industry workforce demands.

This is good news for all parties: manufacturers, the workforce, educators and local economies.

We are already seeing that apprenticeship programs are helping close the skills gap. At the end of 2015, there were nearly 448,000 registered apprentices in the U.S. — with more to come. In fact, President Obama announced plans to double the number of U.S. apprentices to 750,000.

Still, even with funding available, many manufacturers do not know how to start and develop a successful program.

That’s why Tooling U-SME introduced our advanced manufacturing Apprenticeship Acceleration Framework, a competency-based approach to traditional apprenticeship models that follows guidelines set by the DOL.

Organizations and educators can customize the framework to meet specific business needs, allowing them to build apprenticeships that make a positive impact on business performance.

It’s a modern take on the traditional apprenticeship model.

The framework defines specific knowledge and skill requirements that align with common apprenticeship job functions. This level of detail allows apprentices to show competence in these roles through a more accelerated process.

As our colleague here at Tooling U-SME, John Hindman, director of learning and performance improvement, explains, “Traditionally, apprenticeship programs have been constructed through the completion of educational hours combined with on-the-job training hours. Unfortunately, the system has always lacked an industry-wide standard, leaving companies with the task of doing the heavy lifting to carry out the program design, implementation and management. With the dwindling number of skilled workers, and an effort to rebuild apprenticeship programs across the country, we have been presented with an opportunity to modernize the apprenticeship model."

By establishing apprenticeship programs based on industry-wide standards, American employers that sponsor apprenticeship programs can more quickly build a pipeline of skilled workers, boost retention, reduce recruiting costs and improve productivity.

If you are considering applying for a grant and would like to find out more about the Tooling U-SME Apprenticeship Acceleration Framework and how we have helped other organizations obtain funding, please let us know.

Tags: "Acceleration Framework", apprentices, apprenticeships, ApprenticeshipUSA, DOL, grant, "John Hindman", manufacturing, "President Obama", "skills gap", "U.S. Department of Labor"