California announces ‘record number’ of active apprentices
- The Labor and Workforce Development Agency for the state of California announced the highest level of participation in its apprenticeship program this year, with 82,000 active apprenticeships in place. The state is expected to reach near 100,000 apprenticeships by 2020.
- California has invested $15 million per year for the last three years through its Apprenticeship Initiative program to create new opportunities in transportation and logistics, healthcare, IT and advanced manufacturing. Included are pre-apprenticeship programs that ready job seekers to enter registered apprenticeship programming. The state currently has 900 apprentice and pre-apprentice programs.
- A recent road repair bill included $5 million per year over five years for 39 pilot pre-apprenticeship trainees in their High Road Construction Careers program. Much of the programming is targeted at women and underserved communities.
California isn’t the only state starting or enhancing its apprentice programming. New Jersey allocated $10 million to create its Apprenticeship Network beginning in 2019; the state announced its program at the opening of a carpentry training center, with a focus on skilled construction workers.
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) discussed the benefits of apprentice programming for the food and beverage industry at a recent conference. Heavily supported by the Trump administration, some forecast apprenticeship participation in the US could increase by eightfold as the programs expand into new career paths.
In the healthcare market, apprentice programming is helping providers bridge the gap between unskilled workers and unfilled positions. In 2017, DOL supported about 40 healthcare occupations with its apprenticeship programming.
Many of these programs are targeted at providing opportunities for women, veterans and other underserved populations. The California initiative includes providing opportunities for former inmates who are looking for careers in the construction industry, for example. A study showed apprenticeship programs for white collar jobs show significant return on investment and could even be a means to help overcome the skills gap in STEM-related fields and technology.