Murray, Cantwell Announce Nearly $10M for Apprenticeship Grants to Support 21st Century Workforce

Murray, Cantwell Announce Nearly $10M for Apprenticeship Grants to Support 21st Century Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell announced that South Seattle College and the Washington Department of Labor and Industry have received nearly $10 million in grants through the American Apprenticeship Initiative Grant Program.

The American Apprenticeship Initiative Grant (AAIG) is funded through the Department of Labor with the aim of developing and implementing innovative, high-quality registered apprenticeship programs through public-private partnerships. Specifically, the AAIG seeks to identify key innovations that seek to train significant numbers of new apprentices and scale apprenticeship programs at a statewide, regional, or national level.

“I am proud to be a strong supporter of apprenticeship programs to help make sure our workers, including women and minorities, are given the tools and training to succeed. This grant will go a long way in making sure we continue to lead the way in Washington state in training for 21st century industries,” said Senator Murray, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee. “Investing in workers is so important to building an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down - and this latest investment builds on the strong bipartisan work we’ve done in the past few years to invest in our workforce and help them succeed.”

“Apprenticeship programs work – they generate higher-paying jobs, increased career opportunities and a boost for American businesses.  That’s why I introduced a bill to expand these programs, and why I will continue to fight for innovative approaches to on-the-job training programs.  Today’s grants will provide thousands of Washington state workers an earn-while-you-learn education to prepare for 21st century jobs,” said Senator Cantwell.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) was awarded $5 million AAI grant funding. The grant will register more than 1,000 new apprentices -- 600 in partnership with the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and 400 in partnership with other traditional industry partners. L&I and WTIA have developed an unparalleled apprenticeship preparation instruction program and on-the-job training component for the information technology trade, which in part will incorporate Microsoft’s accelerated learning program including tracks for cloud security, cloud applications and development and database and business intelligence. The program prioritizes the engagement of women, people of color, and veterans across the state. Senators Murray and Cantwell wrote a joint letter of support for the L&I’s grant application.

“This grant is a real win for our state and for Washington’s technology industry. We’ll use these funds to train veterans, minorities, at risk youth and women for well-paying, high-tech jobs that private industry is having trouble filling,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “This innovative new program creates a partnership with state government and private industry to make sure we have people in our state who are trained and ready to step in to the growing number of technology jobs available here.”

"As the first state to create a registered apprenticeship for the high tech sector, this award is a testament to the bold creativity of our industry here in Washington. The need for this program is great. Our ability to create jobs far outpaces our ability to educate and train workers qualified for those jobs. This new apprenticeship will help close that gap, and in particular will help women & under-represented minorities successfully enter the workforce.” said Michael Schutzler, CEO of the WTIA.

South Seattle College was awarded a $4.8 million grant to fund the Partnership for Advanced Technology Apprenticeships in Manufacturing and Marine Engineering project (PATAM). It will serve at least 1,000 workers in the Washington state with 300 workers from underrepresented populations. The program will create three new apprenticeship programs and expand on 12 existing programs in the Advanced Manufacturing and Maritime sectors including the nation’s first maritime engineering and occupational safety and health programs. Senator Cantwell wrote a letter of support for South Seattle College’s grant application.

"We are thrilled with this historic investment in apprenticeship.  Apprenticeship programs like these exemplify how partnerships between education and industry drive economic development for our region. By directly building a pipeline of trained employees for industry, our entire community benefits," said South Seattle College President Gary Oertli.

Numerous studies have shown that apprentice programs benefit both the employer and apprentice participants.  A 2012 evaluation of registered apprenticeship programs by Mathematica Policy Research found that the tax return on every Federal Government dollar invested in registered apprenticeship programs was $27 and that the estimated social benefits of registered apprenticeship programs exceeded their costs by more than $49,000. Additionally, a study by the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board found that those completing apprenticeships earned nearly $4,300 more per quarter, and that those earning gains were nearly three times the comparably estimated gains for those graduating with a vocational degree from community colleges.