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The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $10 million State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity and Innovation grant to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to support the development and expansion of new and existing registered apprenticeship programs. DIR is one of five applicants that received the maximum $10 million in funds.

“DAS continues to be a leader in using new strategies to engage with employers and attract a diverse workforce,” said Division of Apprenticeship Standards Chief, Eric Rood. “This award recognizes our dedication to apprenticeship and funds our ability to provide more career opportunities to all Californians.”

The grant will help support DIR and its Division of Apprenticeship Standards’ (DAS) efforts to expand equity in apprenticeships to non-traditional industries by creating new ways to engage with employers, academic institutions and workforce development organizations.

This grant supports the following goals:

– – Expand the development, modernization and diversification of registered apprenticeship programs.
– – Increase the number of active enrolled apprentices.
– – Develop innovative programs and recruitment strategies.

The funds awarded will be used to foster regional collaborations in specific industries, such as the Inland Empire Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Consortium pilot program that launched this past May. The initiative addresses the 56% vacancy rate for cybersecurity jobs in the Inland Empire to fill the 70,000 cybersecurity vacancies throughout the state.

The consortium was the result of months of DAS engagement with stakeholders in the region, including employers, academic institutions, apprenticeship intermediaries and community-based organizations. Robert Half, one of the world’s largest staffing firms, was one of the businesses that participated.

“As a workforce development partner in the Inland Empire Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Consortium, Robert Half is excited to work alongside the State of California to accelerate the adoption of apprenticeships across many professional occupations,” said Lynne Smith, senior vice president of human relations at Robert Half. “Apprenticeships mean more career opportunities and offer companies the chance to develop, diversify and retain talent in critical functions.”

The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Apprenticeship Standards consults with employers to develop a skilled workforce, by establishing innovative apprenticeship programs that offer training to create viable career pathways for Californians.