$1 Million to Increase Apprenticeships for Young People

Known as “earn-and-learn” programs, apprenticeships could be a good way for foster youth to start careers in construction and other trades.

A group of foundations and other grant makers are backing a small investment in one of the Trump administration’s favorite workforce ventures: apprenticeships.

The Ballmer Group, Annie E. Casey Foundation and several other funders will back a $1 million grant to connect young people to career training opportunities. The grant will be overseen by the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), an initiative of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit New America. A list of nine local partners was selected from 220 applicants, according to PAYA. They are:

  • Apprenticeship 502 (Louisville)
  • ApprenticeshipNC (Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • The Birmingham Promise (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • Career Launch Chicago (Chicago)
  • Early Care and Education Youth Apprenticeship (Oakland, California)
  • King County Regional Youth Apprenticeship Consortium (Renton, Washington)
  • Montana Youth Apprenticeship Partnership (Helena, Montana)
  • Texas Youth Apprenticeship Program (Austin, Texas)
  • Twin Cities LEAP Initiative (Minneapolis)
New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter: “It’s clear from the size and diversity of our applicant pool that communities of all sizes see youth apprenticeship as a transformative strategy.” Photo courtesy of New America.

Apprenticeship programs are often sponsored by employers, trade groups or unions, and begin with a mix of on-the-job training and class instruction, during which time participants earn a wage. Industries where apprenticeships are common include information technology, construction and carpentry, plumbing, and various health professions.

In 2018, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass legislation specifically designed to help foster youth access apprenticeship opportunities, which offer a steady path to full-time employment in a highly skilled trade.

“It’s clear from the size and diversity of our applicant pool that communities of all sizes see youth apprenticeship as a transformative strategy for better connecting the learning needs of youth with the talent needs of industry,” said New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter.

While the Trump administration’s budget proposals have included steep cuts for federal workforce training, it has had a soft spot for these programs. It has asked for a doubling of that account to $200 million, and appropriators have boosted the program from $90 million to $160 million since Trump took office.

Other funders involved in the PAYA project include Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Joyce Foundation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., and the Siemens Foundation.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1097 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.