Apprenticeships have been a hot topic for years in state governments. As an investment in a four-year degree has become increasingly costly, many states have been pushing students and youth to pursue apprenticeship opportunities. This trend continued throughout 2021.
Delaware’s promotion of apprenticeship included passing House Bill 166, which establishes the Elevate Delaware Program. The goal is to provide payments of up to $10,000 for tuition and other expenses for individuals to attend an approved non-credit certificate program. Delaware also established the Focus on Alternative Skills Training Program which pays tuition for students seeking a non-degree credit certificate program that provides industry-accepted skills training and certification.
Tennessee also jumped into the apprenticeship ring through House Bill 771, which creates the Office of Apprenticeship and the Tennessee Apprenticeship Council. The office is tasked with creating a nationally recognized apprenticeship program in Tennessee while the Apprenticeship Council advises the office and promotes apprenticeships throughout the state.
Other notable legislation:
- CA AB 340: Allows loans for registered apprenticeships to be tax-deductible.
- NJ SB 973: Establishes a peer-to-peer statewide apprenticeship mentoring program for underrepresented communities, such as women, minorities and those with disabilities.
- IA HF 559: Allows business sponsors of apprenticeship programs to receive financial assistance if they meet certain conditions.
Emerging Technology and Green Initiatives
One way workforce development has expanded in recent years is through the growth in emerging technologies, including those designed to be clean alternatives to existing technology. Georgia has focused on employing people in emerging industries. House Bill 762 creates the Fulton Technology and Energy Enhancement Authority with the goal of helping alleviate poverty in Fulton County, in part through the creation of jobs in nontraditional trades such as technology and energy.
Hawaii is also pushing people into these new areas. House Bill 1176 creates a jobs corps program through funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. This program aims to ease unemployment in the aftermath of the pandemic as well as teach new skills to the youth and unemployed.
Other Notable Legislation:
- IL SB 2408: Appropriates money to their energy transition fund. Some of this money goes toward pre-apprenticeship and workforce development programs geared towards the transition to clean energy.
- WA SB 5126: Provides support for workers affected by the switch to low carbon systems and technology.
Education, childcare, and health care were among the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. To ease workforce shortages and create employment opportunities, lawmakers introduced or passed legislation to address some of these industries specifically
Some states appropriated millions of dollars for workforce development. Through Senate Bill 3990, New Jersey appropriated $15.5 million of ARPA funds to workforce development for childcare workers. Other states, like Oklahoma and Rhode Island, appropriated funds to workforce development for nurses.
Other notable bills:
- NE L 324: Provides funding for workforce development for meat inspectors.
- MN HB 2: Education Omnibus Bill that includes an evidence-based workforce development program for teachers.
- TN SB 677: Creates a taskforce relating to all issues in childcare, including workforce development.