As the U.S. Department of Labor grows registered apprenticeship programs across the country, it is looking to Connecticut to lead through a focus on underrepresented communities.
There are more than 24,000 apprenticeship programs helping build a talent pipeline in various industries across the nation, including healthcare, cybersecurity, education, and advanced manufacturing.
The programs have a 92% employee retention rate once completed.
U.S. DOL officials are focusing on new ways to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion for apprenticeships during the seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week.
That includes opportunities for women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people living in low-income communities.
Companies are encouraged to submit ideas in an online forum during November about promoting inclusivity.
The agency has also launched an Apprenticeship Ambassador program for people who have found success with apprenticeships who can serve as champions for diversifying and expanding the programs.
The Connecticut Department of Labor and Office of Apprenticeship Training administer more than 6,700 apprentices in Connecticut at nearly 1,700 companies.
Connecticut was one of five states chosen earlier this year to receive a $10 million State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity, and Innovation grant for demonstrating a “commitment to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.”
Healthcare-specific programs have been a focus in the state in recent years, with about 1,000 registered apprentices in nursing and surgical fields.
Inmates in Connecticut are among those who participate in the apprenticeship programs throughout the state.
American VetDogs runs an apprenticeship program for inmates who want to give back to the community where they made a mistake.
Many gain valuable job skills in the process as they train service dogs.
Each person enrolled in any apprenticeship program in the state must complete at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job learning and 144 hours of related instruction.
An employer is responsible for paying 50% of related instruction costs in a state regional vocational technical high school when they register.
Firms who train apprentices in the manufacturing trades are typically eligible for a credit against their corporate taxes, under Public Act 95-284.
Consultants are also available in Connecticut for employers to help with technical aspects of the program and monitoring.