Labor Department Funding State, Local Apprenticeship Programs

Date: September 22, 2015

Arkansas, Baltimore Among Areas Developing High-Demand Job Training

The Labor Department has awarded grants to states and cities looking to expand training programs to educate workers for high-demand industries including IT, healthcare, and manufacturing. The AP noted that Arkansas received $4 million, which the state Department of Workforce Services says will go to its Arkansas Apprenticeship Pathway Initiative. That program, Arkansas News noted, will link 600 Arkansas residents over five years to “high-quality apprenticeships,” with participants earning college credit for successfully completing the program. So far, 20 businesses across the state have pledged to train and hire program participants. Department of Workforce Services Director Daryl Bassett said, “This initiative will help us establish a system that effectively utilizes a network of businesses, training providers, service organizations and state agencies that will help both employers and job seekers succeed in today’s economy.”

Meanwhile, Baltimore is also ramping up efforts to train local residents. The Baltimore Sun reported that city officials are planning in October to award contracts to organizations to provide training for at-risk youth and the unemployed aged between 16 and 29. Funds for the training program will come from a $5 million Labor Department grant first pledged in April by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez during a visit to the city. Perez said training city youth would provide them “a chance to chart a new course, gain job skills and find stable, meaningful careers.” Under the program, $3 million will come from the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, which will hire as many as 12 groups to train at least 700 potential workers.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Increasingly, economic data shows a decrease in new jobless claims filings as well as a lowering of the unemployment rate. However, with a lower unemployment rate the US is seeing record job vacancies, prompting a tightening of the labor market. Small businesses can ill-afford HR departments or outside hiring agencies, but may have trouble finding the right people to fill jobs. By training a new pool of potential workers, places like Arkansas and Baltimore will help their small business communities find the workers needed for the increasingly-competitive market.

Additional Reading

The Baltimore Sun recently published an op-ed from the University of Maryland-Baltimore president, who noted the importance of job training programs.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

Related Content: Small Business News | Labor

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