The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation was recently awarded a $1.2 million State Apprenticeship Expansion Grant from the United States Department of Labor. The funds are to increase the number of new apprentices in South Dakota during the next three years. Funding will also be available to businesses to help in new program development.
“Registered Apprenticeships aren’t anything new to South Dakota, though in the last year they have broken into new industries,” said Dawn Dovre, director of policy and public affairs, S.D. Dept. of Labor & Regulation. “Businesses across the state have taken a proactive approach to the bleak workforce and skills gap challenges by developing Registered Apprenticeship programs.”
“The apprenticeship training model combines work-based learning with related classroom instruction, using the highest industry standards,” said Marcia Hultman, State Labor and Regulation Secretary when the award announcement came out.
“Registered Apprenticeships are an intensive training program where an apprentice takes part in related classroom instruction and applies that knowledge with hands-on training to become an expert in a specific occupation,” Dovre said.
The grant will provide businesses a financial incentive when hiring a new apprentice to offset the upfront cost of training. Key industries of focus include healthcare, manufacturing, accommodation and food service, and computer science/information technology.
“There are approximately 600 apprentices in 154 programs in South Dakota today,” Dovre said. “The state intends to increase that by 500, and 15 respectively, over the next three years by using the award grant. The grant will provide businesses a financial incentive when hiring a new apprentice to offset the upfront cost of training. Key industries of focus include healthcare, manufacturing, accommodation and food service, and computer science/information technology.”
Registered Apprentices get on-the-job training from a qualified worker in their field of choice, while earning a paycheck. Opportunities are available in thousands of industries — from construction and commercial trades to the healthcare and service industries. For businesses in South Dakota, having an apprentice helps build a qualified workforce with the exact skills needed to fill job openings and help reduce employee turnover.
“Registered Apprenticeships use a network of technical assistance and are vetted through the industry to provide an increased level of expertise and accountability,” Dovre said. “The long-term benefits for both the business and the apprentice largely outweigh the initial start-up costs associated with the development.”
“One of these benefits include the automatic inclusion on the State’s Eligible Training Provider List, providing eligible participants tuition assistance through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), making the cost of education more affordable to those with barriers to employment,” Dovre said.