2016-12-23 / Neighborhoods

Massachusetts awarded $1.5M Apprenticeship Grant

Submitted to The Champion

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to expand registered apprenticeships in education and healthcare to provide more opportunities for women, minorities and low-income individuals.

The grant will create 2,000 new apprenticeship opportunities over the next three years, and will also assist with on-the-job training for apprentices and related instruction in partnership with the Commonwealth’s community colleges.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Friday, Oct. 21 awarded $50.5 million in grants to 37 states to help expand apprenticeships. The grants aim to engage employers and other partners to expand apprenticeships into new sectors and underserved populations, as well as enable states to conduct additional outreach to launch new programs.

In Massachusetts, initiatives are planned to market registered apprenticeships to new employers and support a network of regional coordinators to work with existing apprenticeship staff and the business service representatives in all 32 Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers, including the North Central Career Center at 100 Erdman Way in Leominster.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, through the Department of Career Services and Division of Apprentice Standards, proposed through this application to create a pilot program to credential “child development associates” that will assist center-based child care providers to meet new standards set by the Department of Early Education and Care’s (EEC) Quality Rating Improvement System.

In health care, the Department of Career Services will work with two employers, each with multiple locations around the state, to implement a registered apprenticeship for pharmacy technicians and support advocates. The model will eventually be replicated.

The Education and Health Services sector accounts for 22 percent of all jobs in the Commonwealth, and continues to be one of the strongest growing sectors.

In July, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development was awarded $200,000 federal ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that is also being used to expand and diversify apprenticeship opportunities and strengthen existing programs in Massachusetts.

Under DOL requirements, all registered apprenticeship programs must include five components: On-the-job training, direct business involvement, related instruction, rewards for skill gains, and a national occupational credential.

The average starting salary for an apprentice graduate is more than $50,000 a year, and over the course of their careers apprentices earn $300,000 more, on average, in wages and benefits than their peers who did not participate in a registered apprentice program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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