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On October 21st, Department of Labor announced $50.5 million in State Expansion Grants under the ApprenticeshipUSA Initiative. The 18-month grants, ranging from $700,000 to $2.7 million, were awarded to 37 grantees across the country.
Grantees are state projects that bring together stakeholders across the apprenticeship system – intermediaries, industry, education providers, community based organizations, etc. – to develop innovative system reforms to increase the use of apprenticeship as a training strategy. States are tasked with integrating workforce and education systems, building capacity to conduct outreach to new sectors not traditionally using apprenticeship and to populations underrepresented in the current system, and build on and develop practices to increase demand for apprenticeship and availability of apprenticeship opportunities.
The State Expansion Grants represent the final set of investments supported by a $90 million appropriation for apprenticeship in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 omnibus spending bill. DOL had previously released $10.4 million in state Accelerator grants in June 2016, and $20.4 million in intermediary and equity technical assistance contracts to national organizations late last month.
It is unclear whether there will be further funding to support the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative next year. The Senate Appropriations Committee proposed an additional $100 million in FY2017 to build on this year’s investments; the House did not include additional funding in their version of the FY2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill. Congress approved a short-term continuing resolution in early October that lasts through December 9th, so final decisions on FY 2017 funding will be made once lawmakers return following the November election. National Skills Coalition supports continued funding for apprenticeship for youth and adults and other key education and workforce programs, and we look forward to working with the appropriations committees to ensure that investments in skills are a priority in the coming year.
States and Territories with projects under this grant are listed below: