Virginia Governor expands apprenticeships

By Brooke DeRenzis, November 05, 2015

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and those looking to learn what states are doing to expand registered apprenticeship may be interested in an Executive Order recently issued by Virginia Governor Terence McAuliffe. Signed last month, Executive Order 49 authorizes new resources to increase registered apprenticeships in Virginia – lifting up the training practice as a key strategy for closing the state’s middle-skill gap.

The Executive Order explains that registered apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with apprenticeship-related instruction, which Virginia’s community colleges or career and technical education centers usually provide. It also underscores the fact that the U.S. Department of Labor recognizes over 900 occupations as appropriate for registered apprenticeship. Some of these occupations are in fields experiencing skill gaps in the state.

The Executive Order seeks to expand the use of apprenticeship by state government agencies and key private sector industries, such as Information Technology, Cybersecurity, and Professional and Business Services. It dedicates $400,000 in fiscal year 2016 to help cover the costs of apprenticeship-related instruction for state agencies ($120,000) and private companies in key industries ($280,000). It also requires the state to develop a process for businesses that sponsor registered apprenticeship to apply for federal or state training funds available through Virginia’s workforce system. 

The responsible state agencies must have the programs authorized by the Executive Order in place by January 1, 2016.