DOL announces $6.5M in grant funding for apprenticeships

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced that $6.5 million of grant funding is available under the Growing Apprenticeship in Nontraditional Sectors, or GAINS, and Pre-Apprenticeship in Career Education, or PACE, programs.

The GAINS grant promotes expansion of U.S. Department of Labor-approved registered apprenticeship programs to support better-paying careers and advanced credential attainment. The program seeks to develop new and existing apprenticeship programs and create registered apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries, with this round of funding targeting growth in a range of sectors, including information technology/cybersecurity, biopharma/life sciences, renewable energy, public service and others.

Currently, more than half of GAINS apprentices are in the health care sector.

For more information on GAINS, click here.

The PACE grant supports pre-apprenticeship programs that provide education and training to prepare participants for either placement into a registered apprenticeship program, into a post-secondary college or occupation-specific career training program, or into the workforce. In partnership with a registered apprenticeship program sponsor, these programs expand career pathways with industry-based training and classroom instruction, leading to better-paying positions and advanced credentials.

PACE programs provide tools such as job readiness, essential skills and occupation-specific training. In addition, PACE funding can be used to offer stipends to participants to offset costs of supportive services, such as child care and transportation, and can also be used to support the attainment of a high school equivalency diploma, or GED. The PACE program was developed primarily to help alleviate economic barriers that hinder upskilling, and to promote equality of opportunity, upward mobility and economic fairness.

For more information on PACE, click here.

The new funding allocation — $4 million for GAINS and $2.5 million for PACE — was announced as NJDOL celebrated National Apprenticeship Week last week alongside business and trade organizations throughout the state, including events with the American Training Center, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Ideal Institute of Technology.

“The GAINS and PACE programs have helped secure New Jersey’s place as a leader in apprenticeships nationwide,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “These new grants will further our goal of ensuring that every New Jerseyan has a well-paying job, especially in many of our state’s fastest-growing and most dynamic fields.”

Of note, more than two-thirds of GAINS grantees are females or minorities, which is twice the average among all apprenticeship programs in the state. Women account for 48% of GAINS apprentices, greater than five times the statewide average.