Vermont Labor Department Wins $2.9M USDOL Grant
The State of Vermont joined states across the country to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week - the very first, formal recognition of the system of Registered Apprenticeship, and Governor Shumlin declared November 8-14, 2015 as National Apprenticeship Week. The proclamation followed the recent announcement that Vermont received a USDOL Apprenticeship grant for $2.9 million dollars to develop more apprenticeship slots in Vermont’s high-demand occupations in advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and business services. The USDOL grant was awarded to the Vermont Department of Labor and Vermont HITEC.
Registered Apprenticeship is a structured system of training that combines on-the-job learning under the supervision of the sponsor, plus related-instruction. Apprentices are sponsored by employers, trade associations, unions or labor-management committees. Apprentices will “learn--and earn a salary” as they progress through a program. In addition, veterans can use their GI educational benefits to receive a tax-free stipend while in a registered apprenticeship program.
The Vermont Department of Labor works with over 300 Vermont employer-sponsors, and has over 1,000 registered apprentices in varied occupations that include plumbers, electricians, tramway maintenance technicians, utility line workers, child care specialists, law enforcement officers, CNC machinists, IT specialists, technical writers, pharmacy technicians, medical coders, and other occupations. Furthermore, many occupations can become “apprenticed occupations”, and the Vermont Department of Labor staff and State Apprenticeship Council can work with employers to create new apprenticeship programs to benefit Vermont businesses.
“Registered Apprenticeship is a proven solution for recruiting, training and retaining talented and skilled workers”, said Governor Shumlin. “It can help a business develop a highly skilled workforce, improve productivity and profit, reduce turnover costs, and increase employee retention.”
Vermont’s Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said that her department is excited to have won the new multi-million dollar grant from USDOL which will bolster the Department’s Apprenticeship program existing offerings. “Companies in most occupational sectors across this nation are facing workforce challenges. Registered apprenticeship is employer-focused, and as such, responsive to the real needs of the employers and the industries. Equally important, it provides the individual employee with a nationally-recognized credential, and helps them develop skills and competencies needed for higher wages, promotional opportunities, job security and resiliency in the event of a layoff”, said Noonan.
VDOL has apprenticeship programs, including electrical and plumbing with related instruction through Vermont Technical College. In addition, VDOL also has several programs underway with Vermont HITEC. Vermont HITEC’s apprenticeship model consists of an accelerated pre-apprenticeship education programs (8 -10 weeks) at no cost to participants leading directly to employment and a one-year competency-based Registered Apprenticeship. Applicants are selected through a rigorous recruitment process based on attitude and aptitude. Many of the apprentices are earning college credits without incurring student loan debt, thus jump-starting their attainment of a higher education degree.
The Vermont Department of Labor staff is available to meet with Vermont business owners, managers and human resource directors to discuss the value of becoming a sponsor of an apprentice. Interested employers should contact VDOL at 802-828-5250.
Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P. O. Box 488
Montpelier, VT 05601-0488
Anne M. Noonan