Tennessee awarded grant to expand apprenticeships statewide

New strategies will increase skilled workforce pipeline to employers

NASHVILLE – The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) awarded Tennessee a grant to create and expand apprenticeship programs across the state. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) will receive $1.4 million in funding over the next three years through the USDOL Apprenticeship State Expansion grant.

“I am committed to expanding work-based learning across the state, and I’m pleased that USDOL is partnering with us in these efforts,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. 

Employers continue to face obstacles in attracting and retaining workers with in-demand skills. Tennessee’s challenge is to identify effective workforce solutions and collaborative approaches that benefit both job seekers and employers.

“We want to embrace the diversity of skills apprentices bring to Tennessee’s workforce,” said TDLWD Commissioner Jeff McCord. “We will partner with Tennessee Board of Regents, along with several other state agencies and educational institutions, to make apprenticeship opportunities available to as many Tennesseans as possible.”

Register Apprenticeship programs are a proven strategy for developing a talent pipeline of qualified workers for employers and industries and providing opportunity and nationally recognized credentials for participants. They are created and sustained through strong partnerships.

“The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is committed to utilizing all available resources to promote and develop apprenticeship opportunities,” McCord said. “Business and industry will be a necessary part of the initiative. By definition, apprenticeships are a public and private partnership. And, we look forward to forming the partnerships it will require to move Tennessee forward.” 

A key part of the strategy will be to engage TBR institutions in forming group apprenticeship models. This approach will encourage small and medium-sized companies to partner in apprenticeship programs. By joining forces, companies would have a lower investment and still realize increased workforce outcomes.

TDLWD leadership, along with state partners, will develop a strategy in the coming weeks that will set forth a new era for apprenticeships and workforce development in Tennessee.

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