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February 17, 2021

OWD launches MO Apprentice Ready initiative to fund pre-apprenticeship programs

The Office of Workforce Development (OWD) within the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) has launched MO Apprentice Ready, an initiative to fund pre-apprenticeship programs throughout the state.

A $1 million investment of federal funds will be used to create pre-apprenticeship opportunities, supporting pathways to Registered Apprenticeships.

“Over the past three years we have cultivated a robust Registered Apprenticeship program network. To continue our growth, and allow for more Missourians to access sustainable employment opportunities, we need to support the development of pre-apprenticeship programs directly connected to Registered Apprenticeships,” said Dr. Mardy Leathers, director of the Office of Workforce Development. “This will create a talent pipeline and get more Missourians prepared to enter a Registered Apprenticeship opportunity.”

Community colleges, local workforce development boards, career and technical education programs, and some labor management organizations will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $50,000. Grants can be used to develop curriculum, to build an apprenticeship program, and will require a pilot cohort.

MO Apprentice Ready will strive to meet the following goals: to create 10 new pre-apprenticeship programs, to increase the diversity of Registered Apprenticeships, and to increase active apprentices in existing programs through pre-apprenticeship.

“Providing grants to organizations that are developing and expanding apprenticeship programs will help prepare more Missourians to succeed in a registered apprenticeship program,” said Jeanna Caldwell, manager of Missouri’s Office of Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning. “Creating new pre-apprenticeship training opportunities will increase access to apprenticeships across the state, which will have a lasting, positive impact on Missouri’s workforce.”

Pre-apprenticeship is a program or set of services designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a pre-apprenticeship program must have a documented partnership with at least one Registered Apprenticeship program.

Applications opened Feb. 17, and will close on Monday, March 15. Grant recipients will be announced on Thursday, April 1.

Informational webinars will be held Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to help potential grant recipients understand the request for funds and to answer questions about the application process.

Since 2016, OWD has invested more than $12 million in Registered Apprenticeships. In FY 2020, Missouri ranked second in the nation for the second year in a row for completed apprenticeships. Missouri also ranked second in the nation for total number of active apprentices. As of today, Missouri has 13,724 active apprentices.

Learn more about MO Apprentice Ready and find details about the requests for proposals at https://dhewd.mo.gov/apprenticeship_missouri.php.

About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.