Iowa Workforce Development has won a grant of $6 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to help pay the costs of apprentice training programs. IWD spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the program targets a specific group. “It’s intended to train at least 1,500 Iowans who are considered either long-term unemployed, on a type of state assistance, or they have significant barriers into apprenticeship programs, specifically targeted into the construction industry,” Koonce says.
She says an apprenticeship program helps the participant in several ways. “They get a job, they’re earning while they’re learning and getting all their credentials. And of course, registered apprenticeship programs are a debt-free option for people for training because they are not paying out for any training. The training is paid for by their employer, while they are working at the same time,” Koonce explains. She says this program also takes the participants off state assistance.
Koonce says the grant is very important as these types of programs are very expensive. “Especially start up ones. You have to pay for the equipment an those types of things. And a lot of apprenticeship programs are five-year programs,” Koonce says. She says the cost works out to around $4,000 for each person, which she says is less than what a two-year college degree would cost.
It will take some time to get the program up and running. “We’ll have about a 90-day period where DOL lays out our requirements for getting started,” Koonce explains. “And from that point forward we’ll be working with out individuals that are currently dislocated Iowans on state assistance to move them into these programs.”
Iowa Workforce Development is partnering with over 26 registered apprenticeship across the state to implement the program.