U.S. Department of Labor: Apprenticeship Grant Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Labor plans to award $95 million to expand Apprenticeships

Anyone working in or around economic development knows that for the last few years, businesses across most industry sectors looking to hire have been having a difficult finding the talent they need. In response to the increasing workforce challenges, the U.S. Department of Labor is coordinating an inter-agency effort to increase federal funding for 'Registered Apprenticeships'. 

What is a Registered Apprenticeship?

A Registered Apprenticeship program is an employer-driven model that uses on-the-job learning with related classroom instruction, which increases an apprentice’s skill level and wages. Registered Apprenticeship programs are a successful way for businesses to recruit, train, and retain skilled workers and can be used in both the private and public sector. 

In May 2018, the federal Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion delivered President Donald Trump suggestions for promoting apprenticeships. The task force noted that with a historically low unemployment rate and high demand for skilled workers, the need to support Apprentice Programs is growing. According to Repairer Driven News, over 55,000 apprentices graduated nationwide in 2011, and the number of apprenticeships has grown 42% since 2013, additionally, in 2017 there were 190,000 new apprentices and 533,000 apprentices overall.1

For a detailed guide on how to design and utilize a Registered Apprenticeship Program and explore benefits, please download: A Quick-Start Toolkit: Building Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

The Office of Apprenticeship (OA) and independent State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) work together to administer Apprenticeship Programs. In order to become a Registered Apprentice, your program must be registered with the Employment and Training Administration and meet national standards. Registration information can be found at the Apprenticeship Registration Page.

Who are potential funding recipients?

As noted, the federal Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion recommends expanding and increasing federal resources for Apprentice Programs. This funding can be accessed by:

  • Companies and employers wanting to start or expand an apprenticeship.
  • Colleges and training providers interested in building partnerships with employers in your area.
  • State and local workforce systems hoping to expand apprenticeship opportunities in your area and increase the number of workers on a path to a sustainable career.
  • Community-based and nonprofit organizations hoping for resources to assist workers in finding and entering an apprenticeship.

How can you access funding?

A comprehensive guide detailing all available federal resources for Registered Apprenticeships can be downloaded here: The Federal Resources Playbook for Registered Apprenticeship. This guide provides information to companies, employers, educators, and workforce professionals on using the Federal funds to support registered apprenticeship.

Overall, the following federal workforce and education funds may be available to businesses hoping to invest in apprenticeship programs, businesses and employers looking to provide training opportunities for apprentices, and assist education intuitions in strengthening training and employment opportunities through apprenticeship.

  • U.S. Department of Education: Federal Student Aid Funds, Title IV Student Aid including Pell Grants and Federal Work Study. Apprentices may be eligible for Federal Financial Aid under certain circumstances. If the apprenticeship is connected to a school’s program of study, then apprentices may be eligible for Pell Grants, and federal work-study grants.
  • U.S. Department of Labor: Federal Workforce Development Funds, including Workforce Investment Act and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: GI Bill and Veterans Affairs Educational Assistance. Veterans who qualify for the GI Bill can receive a monthly stipend (paid by the Veteran Affairs), in addition to the wages they receive in an apprenticeship.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education and Training Funds
  • U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration On-the-Job Training and Supportive Services Program
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Section 3 Covered Housing and Urban Development Financial Assistance Programs

Tax credits for hiring apprentices.

In addition to federal funding being more accessible to support Apprenticeship Programs, there are also states which offer tax credits to employers who are hiring Apprentices. Example of some available tax credits include:

  • Connecticut: Any taxpayer who employs an apprentice enrolled and registered under the terms of a qualified manufacturing program is entitled to a tax credit for each eligible apprentice of up to $4,800 maximum or 50% of actual wages, whichever is less, provided such apprenticeships meet state requirements.
  • Maryland: Apprenticeship Tax Credit provides a State income tax credit to Registered Apprenticeship Sponsors or participating employers (Employer) which hire an eligible Registered Apprentice(s). The Employer may qualify for a $1,000 tax credit for each eligible Registered Apprentice.
  • Virginia: Employers may claim a tax credit for providing eligible worker retraining to qualified employees including apprentices that are approved by the Virginia Apprenticeship Council. The credit is 30 percent of all training costs through a community college, or up to $100 annual credit for each employee if incurred at a private school.
  • Rhode Island: Employers that hire apprentices in certain manufacturing occupations may be eligible for a tax credit of 50 percent of actual wages or $4,800, whichever is less.
  • South Carolina: Eligible businesses can receive a tax credit of $1,000 for each registered apprentice employed for at least seven months during each year of an apprentice's program, for up to four years of such a program.

For a comprehensive list of available tax credits, please check U.S. Department of Labor Tax Credits.  

More information to come!

As mandated by the federal government, there will be new Apprenticeship Expansion Investments in the coming months. The U.S. Department of Labor plans to award $95 million to promote and expand Apprenticeships in new industries to enable more Americans to obtain family-sustaining careers.

Check the U.S. Dept. of Labor Apprentice Grant Opportunities page for updates on funding opportunities and decisions.


1.“Trump’s federal task force offers plans for growing apprenticeships” By Repairer Driven News on June 13, 2018

Other sources include: U.S. Department of Labor and Employment and Training Administration

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