It's been one year since Governor Laura Kelly established the Office of Registered Apprenticeship through Executive Order 22-07. The Office was created to strengthen workforce development and grow the economy by modernizing and expanding apprenticeship opportunities and by building partnerships with educational institutions.
Since Governor Kelly’s executive order, Kansas has made great strides in expanding apprenticeship opportunities: There has been a 37.9% increase in Kansans participating in apprenticeships since September 2022, with nearly 4,400 apprentices in Kansas today. In addition, the Office has expanded the type of occupations in which Kansans can gain experience: 49 new job titles have been added, resulting in a total of 107 occupations in the apprenticeship pipeline.
“Through the Office of Registered Apprenticeship, we are helping Kansans gain the skills they need to get jobs that don’t require a college degree – and we’re developing the workforce needed to attract new businesses to the state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Because of our efforts, Kansas continues to lead the nation as the state with the most business investment per capita.”
All Registered Apprenticeship programs must have five core components to be recognized for certification, including on-the-job training, related technical instruction, mentorship, wage progression, and industry-recognized credentials. However, the driving force must be a business or industry willing to support an apprentice to “earn and learn” a career.
“Registered apprenticeship is an increasingly central component of our efforts to build up the Kansas workforce,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Our purposeful economic development is creating thousands of new opportunities for hard-working Kansans across the state.”
Since the creation of this office, there has been a 38.8% increase in the completion of apprenticeship programs – from 129 program completers in 2022 to 179 in 2023.
“We are executing a targeted plan to expand high-quality registered apprenticeships, and we are showing results across the entire state of Kansas,” said Shonda Anderson, Director of the Kansas Office of Apprenticeship. “Most importantly, we are bridging partnerships with our labor unions, business and industry, local workforce boards, non-profits, higher education, and even cross-departmental partnerships.”
Governor Kelly has also taken other actions to support apprenticeships, including:
- Governor Kelly signed the Kansas Apprenticeship Act to promote and expand apprenticeships for the most in-demand industries in Kansas through tax credits and grants.
- U.S. Department of Labor awarded Kansas $6.3 million to “Lead Apprenticeship Results in Kansas.” With this, the Office of Registered Apprenticeships will work with stakeholders to grow teacher educator apprenticeships, inside and outside justice involved apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and other programs in Kansas’ most in-demand industries.
- Kansas was selected to participate in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) Policy Academy to Advance Youth Apprenticeship. Through the Policy Academy, Kansas will develop a strategy to expand apprenticeship opportunities to youth ages 16 and older to help them build the skills needed for the modern workforce.
- The Office of Registered Apprenticeship launched a statewide Teacher Educator Apprenticeship Program, making Kansas home to one of the most innovative teacher-educator apprenticeship programs, allowing para-educators to obtain their bachelor’s degree and gain a Kansas Teaching certificate while being paid to teach in the classroom from day one.
- The Office is using $4.7 million in grants to expand registered apprenticeships in the care economy, IT sectors, construction, and more.
More information on Kansas Registered Apprenticeships can be found on the Kansas Department of Commerce website.