Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh joined leaders from North America’s Building Trades Unions, the National Urban League and graduates of pre-apprenticeship programs in construction to discuss how Registered Apprenticeship programs can train the future workforce to help fill jobs in critical sectors.
Secretary Walsh announced a $20 million cooperative agreement between the Department of Labor and the TradesFutures non-profit to advance equitable opportunities in construction through the department’s “Scaling Apprenticeship Readiness Across the Building Trades” initiative.
TradesFutures seeks to enroll more than 13,000 participants in apprenticeship readiness programs – giving them hands-on learning experience and skill development – and expects to subsequently place at least 7,000 of them into Registered Apprenticeships in the construction industry.
“Our cooperative agreement with TradesFutures and other partners will build on their proven success in using pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeships to develop an open and inclusive talent pipeline for construction and construction-related industries,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, in a statement.
In partnership with the department and the National Urban League, TradesFutures will lead a coalition of community partners to develop a unified strategy that creates a gateway for women, people of color, veterans, Native Americans, justice-involved people and other people from underrepresented communities to access and succeed in Registered Apprenticeship programs.
The project will explore programs in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee to support identification of best practices, as well as to provide technical assistance to these states and other apprenticeship readiness programs in additional states that may be supported by future expansion efforts.
“We welcome this opportunity to help recruit the next infrastructure generation and look forward to maximizing these investments to the greatest extent possible by empowering communities with a stronger, more diverse and skilled local workforce," said TradesFuture Executive Director Nicole Schwartz, in a statement.
The cooperative agreement also provides a mechanism for the partners to develop best practices that will be used throughout the Registered Apprenticeship system to scale across other industries.