Apprenticeships dominated the news coming out of
the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in late June.
The department first announced a proposal for a
new apprenticeship structure that would run in
tandem with its registered apprenticeship program.
The industry-recognized apprenticeship programs
(IRAPs) would complement registered apprenticeships, DOL said. The department noted that it wants
to avoid potentially “undercutting” the registered
apprenticeship system and plans to recognize
IRAPs in sectors that don’t have significant registered apprenticeship opportunities. For example,
it would likely exclude (at least initially) the construction industry and the military from IRAPs.
DOL also announced new grant awards totaling
nearly $184 million to develop and expand appren-
ticeships for educational institutions (including
community colleges) partnering with companies
that provide matching funds.
“With 7.4 million open jobs and job creators
searching for skilled job seekers, apprenticeship
expansion will continue to close the skills gap,”
then U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said
in a press release. Acosta stepped down in July.
The Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based
Strategies grants were awarded to private-public
apprenticeship partnerships in information technology, advanced manufacturing and healthcare. The
grants, funded through H-1B visa fees, will support
the training of more than 85,000 apprentices in
new or expanded apprenticeship programs, and
increase apprenticeship opportunities, especially
for veterans, military spouses and groups that
are underrepresented in apprenticeships, such as
women and people of color.
Among the 23 academic institutions and
consortia receiving grants with their private-sector
partners are the Alabama Community College
System with the Manufacturing Institute of the
National Association of Manufacturers, the Illinois
DOL invests big
By AACC Staff
“When people have access to apprenticeships, they have an opportunity
to earn while they learn.” —ALEXANDER ACOSTA, Former Secretary, U. S. Department of Labor