FAIRFIELD COUNTY — The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration recently awarded the SC Technical College System a $5 million grant to expand apprenticeship in the state.
The grant is part of the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) and represents the federal government’s largest investment in apprenticeship with $100 million in grants awarded across the country.
The grants are designed to fund projects across diverse industries and occupations for which employers are using H-1B visa to hire foreign workers. The goal is to increase the use of apprenticeship through innovative and sustainable public-private partnerships and programs designed to scale apprenticeships.
The SC Technical College System’s grant — SC Apprenticeship Initiative — is designed to increase the number of manufacturing apprenticeships and lay the foundation for future scaling of new programs in professional and information services.
The two primary goals for the SC Apprenticeship Initiative are to increase registered apprentices in the state by 1,000 in the targeted high-growth, high-tech industries of manufacturing, professional and information services and increase access to post-secondary training and credentials for target industries and underrepresented groups in sponsored apprenticeships, namely veterans, minorities and females.
The SC Apprenticeship Initiative will scale current innovations used to inform companies about apprenticeship programs, expand technical services in design and administration and fund post-secondary education and training for apprentices.
Companies across the state will be able to apply for grants to offset training costs associated with their respective apprenticeship programs. Applications will be granted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The System’s 16 colleges across the state will serve as the providers of job-related education for the programs connected with the grant.
“The SC Technical College System and its Apprenticeship Carolina program are dedicated to increasing the awareness and use of registered apprenticeships in South Carolina. We know from experience that apprenticeships can go a long way to bridging the skills gap that so many companies across our state face,” said Dr. Jimmie Williamson, president of the SC Technical College System.
Williamson said the grant will help the Technical College System expand apprenticeship in South Carolina and help companies across the state in meeting their workforce needs through registered apprenticeship programs.
“At the same time, it will be making a post-secondary education more accessible for the citizens of South Carolina while enhancing their skills set and earning them a nationally-recognized credential,” he said.
An apprenticeship is a time-tested method of employee development that combines supervised on-the-job learning and job-related education.
A program “registered” with DOLETA shows an employer’s visible commitment to developing a high-quality workforce that meets nationally recognized training standards. Registered apprenticeship programs also enable employees to receive incremental wage increases as they demonstrate new competencies throughout the training program.
The SC Technical College System is comprised of 16 colleges located strategically across the state and two internationally-renowned statewide programs — readySC and Apprenticeship Carolina.
As the state’s largest higher education system, the SC Technical System serves more than a quarter million South Carolinians each year and educates more of the state’s undergraduates than all the other public higher education institutions combined.