The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment received a $1.8 million grant Friday to expand apprenticeship programs for disenfranchised populations.
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the grant, which will go toward expanding apprenticeships and vocational studies in high-demand industries, such as construction, manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, energy and aerospace.
The program is geared toward low-income adults, individuals with disabilities, women, minorities and the estimated 110,000 young people not currently affiliated with school or a career.
With grant funding, apprenticeship programs will expand into school districts, a program based on the Swiss apprenticeship model adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor in July 2015, the Society of Human Resource Management reported. It encourages students to pursue apprenticeships in conjunction with coursework for an alternative path to a career.
“The creation of work-based training that meets the needs of Colorado employers and workers alike is key to Governor Hickenlooper’s call to build up the middle class,” Ellen Golombek, executive director of the Department of Labor said in a statement.
The program proposes to assist workers, but the emphasis on Colorado industry is apparent.
Apprenticeship programs provide a ready-made talent pool for employers in high-demand industries, and saves them money on training and recruitment. In fact, interested applicants must demonstrate during the application process that the training they’ve chosen can be applied toward a job that is currently in-demand.
The Business-Experiential Learning Commission and Colorado’s Workforce Development Council will advise the pilot program development and will collaborate with workforce professionals, educators, economic developers and businesses to craft and promote apprenticeships.
More information can be found on the Department of Labor and Education website.