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Dept. of Labor Advances Development of Apprenticeship Programs

8 Jul, 2019


The U.S. Department of Labor announced major milestones in the continuing effort to expand apprenticeships in the United States.
 
This morning, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was made public that would establish a process for the U.S. Department of Labor to advance the development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). 
 
The Department further announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies that provide a funding match component.  The Department will also make available an additional $100 million for efforts to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap.
 
Tomorrow, the Department will issue a revised Training and Employment Notice that will subsequently be accompanied by an application for entities seeking to recognize IRAPs.
 
"The apprenticeship model of earning while learning has worked well in many American industries, and today we open opportunities for apprenticeships to flourish in new sectors of our economy," U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said.  "With 7.4 million open jobs and job creators searching for skilled job seekers, apprenticeship expansion will continue to close the skills gap and strengthen the greatest workforce in the world – the American workforce."
 
There are more than half a million new apprenticeships since January 2017. 
 
Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs
 
On June 15, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13801 charging the Secretary of Labor to consider establishing guidelines or requirements that qualified entities should or must follow to ensure that apprenticeship programs they recognize meet quality standards.
 
The Executive Order created a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion that included representatives of business, labor, educational institutions, trade associations, and public officials and invited them to offer their recommendations on how to best expand the apprenticeship model in America.  The Task Force recommendations were transmitted to the President on May 10, 2018.
 
Today's NPRM reflects key recommendations contained in the final report of the Task Force, which noted that the establishment of industry-recognized apprenticeships could provide high-quality apprenticeship programs and opportunities in a market-driven system. 
 
Under the proposed rule, entities such as trade, industry, and employer groups or associations, educational institutions, state and local government entities, non-profit organizations, unions, or a consortium or partnership of these entities could become a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE) that sets standards for training, structure, and curricula for IRAPs in relevant industries or occupational areas.  The SREs would be recognized through the U.S. Department of Labor to ensure that its requirements are met, resulting in only high-quality IRAPs.  This is a similar relationship to the one that exists between the U.S. Department of Education and higher education accrediting bodies.
 
The Department would ensure that SREs have the capacity and quality-assurance processes and procedures needed to monitor IRAPs and recognize that IRAPs are high quality.  The Department's criteria for high-quality IRAPs include paid work, work-based learning, mentorship, education and instruction, industry-recognized credentials, safety and supervision, and adhering to equal employment opportunity obligations. 
 
IRAPs represent a new pathway for the expansion of apprenticeships, and the proposal accordingly does not change requirements for Registered Apprenticeship Programs.
 
A 60-day public comment period commences with the publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.  The Department invites interested persons to submit comments on the content of the proposed rule by following the transmittal directions contained in the NPRM.  View the content of the NPRM. 
 
Apprenticeship Grants
 
In addition to the proposed rule, the Department is awarding $183.8 million in Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grants to private-public apprenticeship partnerships in information technology, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare. The grants are funded through H-1B visa fees, which are paid to bring foreign workers to America when Americans cannot be found to fill open jobs. 
 
These grants will support the training of more than 85,000 apprentices in new or expanded apprenticeship programs and increase apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans, including veterans, military spouses, and service members transitioning into the civilian workforce; and groups that are underrepresented in apprenticeships such as women, people of color, and Americans transitioning from the justice system to the workforce. Recipients include colleges, universities, and state systems of higher education, in partnership with national industry associations, employers representing an industry sector, and other partners. Industry partners will provide partial matching funds to the institutions to develop in-demand skills as part of these programs.
 
The 23 academic institutions and consortia receiving grants with their private-sector partners are:
 
Alabama: Alabama Community College System with the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
Arizona: Pima County Community College District and four colleges with the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers, National Tooling & Machining Association, and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
California: West Los Angeles College and five colleges with the Aerospace Industries Association, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Institute for American Apprenticeships and 17 firms (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
Colorado: Colorado Department of Higher Education and Colorado Community College System with Kaiser Permanente, Centura Health, HealthOne/HCA, UCHealth and Colorado Rural Health Center (Healthcare)
 
Connecticut: Connecticut State Colleges & Universities with Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Electric Boat, IBM, Sound Manufacturing, and Pratt & Whitney (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
Florida: Florida International University Board of Trustees and a coalition of urban serving universities with The Society for Human Resource Management Foundation and three firms (Information Technology)
 
Florida: Miami Dade College and Polk State College with the Computing Technology Industry Association and Kaseya (Information Technology)
 
Illinois: Illinois Community College Board and City Colleges of Chicago with the Computing Technology Industry Association (Information Technology)
 
Indiana: Purdue University with five associations and seven firms (Information Technology)
 
Massachusetts: Trustees of Clark University and six colleges with 13 firms (Information Technology)
 
Maryland: Community College of Baltimore County with Johns Hopkins Medicine and three hospitals (Healthcare)
 
Missouri: St. Louis Community College and eight colleges with the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
New Jersey: Bergen Community College and participants from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges with CVS Health and five healthcare entities (Healthcare)
 
New Jersey: County College of Morris and seven Community Colleges with the German American Chamber of Commerce, Siemens, UPS, and five firms (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
New York: Research Foundation for the State University of New York and 57 firms (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
Ohio: Columbus State Community College and 25 colleges and universities with 10 firms (Information Technology)
 
Ohio: Lorain County Community College with Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers, Ohio Manufacturers Association and National Institute of Metalworking Skills (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
Ohio: University of Cincinnati and five colleges with Northrup Grumman, IBM, GE Aviation and four firms (Information Technology)
 
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania College of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology with four associations and seven firms (Advanced Manufacturing)
 
Texas: Dallas County Community College District with the American Hospital Association and nine healthcare entities (Healthcare)
 
Texas: San Jacinto Community College District and three college districts with IBM, Lockheed Martin, Cerner Corporation, Cisco Systems and Rackspace (Information Technology)
 
Utah: Weber State University and two colleges with 14 firms (Information Technology)
 
West Virginia: West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education and nine colleges and universities with 17 firms (Information Technology)
 
The Department is also announcing a new solicitation to award up to $100 million in grant funds authorized by Section 414(c) of the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) for the Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap grant program. 
 
The Department intends to fund up to 30 apprenticeship grants, with awards ranging from $500,000 to $6 million. Grants may be local/regional, statewide, or national in scale, and funding will depend on the proposed geographic scope of the apprenticeship project.  Grant funds will be awarded to apprenticeship partnerships of public- and private-sector entities, which together will develop and implement new apprenticeship models or expand existing apprenticeship programs.  The full solicitation will be published on grants.gov today. 
 
Training and Employment Notice (TEN)
 
The Department will also be publishing a revised TEN tomorrow that provides additional information on the policies and procedures that entities are expected to have in place to establish their standards-setting and recognition processes, and to evaluate and recognize apprenticeship programs as high quality. This revised TEN will subsequently be accompanied by the Department's revised application form. The revised TEN will explain how entities will be able to use that form.
 
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