RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe announced today that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $200,000 Apprenticeship USA State Accelerator Grant to Virginia to expand apprenticeships. The funding constitutes the first phase of $90 million in new federal grants, which aim to double the number of apprenticeships in the country by 2019.
The new federal investment aspires to accelerate apprenticeships by increasing outreach to employers to start new apprenticeship programs, engaging industry and other partners to expand apprenticeships in non-traditional industry sectors, such as Cybersecurity and Information Technology, and increasing the number and percentage of women and minorities participating in apprenticeships. The grant program also intends to integrate apprenticeships into education and workforce development systems, such as high school career and technical education, community colleges and Virginia’s One Stop Career Centers.
“Securing federal dollars for Virginia’s apprenticeship program is an excellent step in building comprehensive training programs that prepare our workforce for high-tech, 21st century jobs,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “For every dollar spent, apprenticeships bring a $1.47 return for an employer, which is a very attractive incentive in bringing new businesses to the Commonwealth. Ensuring companies in Virginia have a world-class workforce is an essential step in building a competitive, new Virginia economy.”
In August 2014, Governor McAuliffe committed to seeing Virginians attain more than 50,000 STEM-H credentials by the end of his administration, and more than 460,000 workforce credentials a year by 2030, in order to close the skills gap in trades and technician level jobs. In addition to being universally recognized, apprenticeship credentials are one of the types of credentials that “count” towards the Governor’s goals.
“Given that apprenticeships increase employee loyalty and productivity and reduce employee turnover, it’s imperative to prioritize expanding apprenticeships as a primary strategy for growing the workforce industry needs,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The Governor’s Executive Order 49, which provide fiscal incentives to employers who sponsor apprenticeships in occupations new to the apprenticeship model, was a big step forward. Grants like the Apprenticeship USA State Accelerator Grant are essential for continuing this important work.”
“Rolls-Royce’s success requires a workforce which can meet the challenges required in advanced manufacturing and we recognize apprenticeship programs are important to do that,” said Brian Warner, Rolls-Royce Head of Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) and Member of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development. “We have very successful programs in other countries, have a certified program in Virginia, and are supportive of apprentice programs to meet the growing needs for a skilled workforce.”
The new planning grant will require outreach and coordination with businesses and industries across the state as well as trade associations, chambers of commerce, school divisions, community colleges, non-profit organizations, One Stop Career Centers, regional registered apprenticeship coordinators and national organizations. Leadership for the grant’s activities will come from the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and his workforce development team. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development will act as administrative and fiscal agent for the two year grant.