On February 25, Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Apprenticeship (OA) released a Request For Information (RFI) for contracts to fund 8-10 industry intermediaries to expand apprenticeship. These contracts will build on DOL’s Sectors of Excellence in Apprenticeship (SEAs) Initiative and last year’s $175 million in American Apprenticeship Grants, both launched to further the President’s goal of doubling the number of apprentices in the US by 2019. DOL, through SEAs, has identified priority industries in which it will be targeting expansion – Healthcare, Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Transportation, Construction, Insurance and Financial Services, and Cybersecurity.
Under the RFI, an “intermediary” is an industry association, labor-management partnership organization, workforce intermediary, consortium of employers, state-wide community college system or consortium of community colleges. Recipient intermediaries would be required to:
- conduct outreach to their target sector,
- assist employers in developing programming sufficient to meet standards required for registration,
- promote innovation and inclusive practices – such as promoting diversity, alignment with post-secondary credentials, expanding competency-based apprenticeship, and aligning Career and Technical Education with the Registered Apprenticeship system, particularly for youth,
- develop and support a full-time employee dedicated to expanding apprenticeship within an industry,
- develop materials to support an apprenticeship program, and – if necessary –
- provide financial support up to $75,000 per employer to expand or create new apprenticeship programs.
Funding for the contracts will come from a new $90 million Congressional investment in expanding apprenticeship for Fiscal Year 2016.
DOL is asking respondents to submit responses by Friday, March 11, describing the respondent’s capacity for acting as an intermediary and successfully performing the activity detailed above. Contracts should be awarded in the summer of 2016.