Responding to a national need for more skilled workers in the construction industry and other industry segments, the Department of Labor has announced its intention to establish a new kind of apprenticeship credentialing program.
In making what is called a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Labor Department is kick-starting the process to make the program fully operational.
According to Labor Department officials, the $183 million program will be designed to provide training for skilled job openings that are currently going unfilled.
More specifically, that funding will go directly for the development and expansion of apprenticeship programs offered by educational institutions. Those institutions will then partner with private companies providing a funding match.
Employers in the various industry segments have been complaining for more than two years now that it’s tough enough to find people for every company vacancy, but substantially more difficult to find skilled labor.
As designed under the auspices of the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration, the new program will provide industry groups with more authority and autonomy to create industry-recognized apprenticeship programs.
In announcing the apprenticeship effort, the Labor Department also noted that there are currently some 7.4 million job openings nationally, an all-time high, and that the apprenticeship program will not only help close an ever-widening employment skills gap, but also strengthen the country’s overall labor force.
By Garry Boulard
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