WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin applauded the U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez’s announcement last week of $200,000 in ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grant funding to expand and expedite apprenticeship programs in Wisconsin. The announcement was made during Senator Baldwin’s and Secretary Perez’s visit to Milwaukee Area Technical College last week, where they highlighted the role that apprenticeships play in strengthening the workforce and economic development in the Milwaukee area.
“Apprenticeship initiatives are one of the most effective vehicles for responding to the workforce readiness needs of business and industry,” said Senator Baldwin. “Today’s investment in Wisconsin’s workers will help us raise incomes, strengthen our middle class, and grow our Made In Wisconsin economy.”
“There is a bright future for apprenticeship in America,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez . “The investments that we’re making today and in the weeks and months to come are about giving apprenticeship the greater stature it deserves, helping more employers get the talent they need and helping more workers punch their ticket to the middle class.”
The grants are part of ApprenticeshipUSA, the Department of Labor’s coordinated effort with industry and education leaders, nonprofits and local governments to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships and expand the use of this time-tested, earn-while-you-learn model. The grants – also awarded to 50 other states and territories, and the District of Columbia – are part of $90 million in funding announced in April to expand apprenticeship in the United States. The recipients announced today will each receive $200,000 to help integrate apprenticeship into their education and workforce systems; engage industry and other partners to expand apprenticeship to new sectors and new populations at scale; conduct outreach and work with employers to start new programs; promote greater inclusion and diversity in apprenticeship, and implement state incentives and system reforms.
Senator Baldwin, a member of both the U.S. Senate Competitive Caucus and the Career and Technical Education Caucus, has championed support for apprenticeship programs as an investment in Wisconsin’s workforce readiness. Last month, Senator Baldwin held an apprenticeship roundtable at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design with education, manufacturing and business leaders from GE Healthcare, Colectivo Coffee, Cramer Krasselt, MIAD and more. Senator Baldwin also fought for the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which expands apprenticeship opportunities.
In the coming weeks, the Department of Labor will announce the availability of an additional $50 million in State Expansion Grants for those looking to expand their capacity to collaborate with employers and start new apprenticeship programs across diverse industries and communities. These investments are part of a historic bipartisan Congressional effort to appropriate funds specifically for apprenticeship for the first time, and align with President Obama’s challenge to double and diversify the number of apprenticeships by 2019.
Apprenticeships are a proven path to high quality, secure middle-class jobs. In fact, 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $50,000 per year. The return on investment for employers is substantial, as studies indicate that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers receive average of $1.47 return in increased productivity, reduced waste and greater front-line innovation.