Apprenticeship Grants Boost Community College Career and Technical Education

The Department of Labor awarded $121.7 million in Apprenticeship Building America grants to develop new pathways to quality jobs.

July 20, 2022 · Updated on July 20, 2022

Edited by Raneem Taleb-Agha
Apprenticeship Grants Boost Community College Career and Technical Education
Future of Work

  • Community colleges are among the recipients of 30 grants awarded by the Department of Labor.
  • The American Association of Community Colleges will also receive an $8 million grant.
  • Community colleges saw enrollment declines during the pandemic, but career and technical education fields saw an increase.

As the U.S. Department of Labor doles out $121 million in apprenticeship grants, a significant chunk will go to community colleges as investment in career and technical education continues to rise.

Like other higher education institutions, community colleges have seen dramatic enrollment slips since the onset of the pandemic — but recently, enrollment in career and technical education programs has increased at public two-year institutions, BestColleges previously reported.

Now, alongside the American Association of Community Colleges, several community colleges have more resources to build out apprenticeship programs, according to the list of grant recipients from the Department of Labor.

The Apprenticeship Building America grants announced by the Department of Labor earlier this month include millions in funding for community colleges.

The American Association of Community Colleges will receive $8 million; Dallas College in Texas will receive $5 million; Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana will receive more than $4.7 million; the North Carolina Community College system will receive $4 million; Central Community College in Nebraska will receive more than $3.9 million; and Mt. Hood community College in Oregon will receive nearly $3 million.

“The grants aim to “strengthen and modernize Registered Apprenticeship programs and enable workers to find a reliable pathway to the middle class”

The grants aim to “strengthen and modernize Registered Apprenticeship programs and enable workers to find a reliable pathway to the middle class,” according to a Department of Labor release.

“The funding of $121.7 million in Apprenticeship Building America grants reaffirms and advances the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to strengthening and expanding Registered Apprenticeships,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said in a release. “The Apprenticeship Building America grants will develop new pathways to good-quality jobs and provide America’s workers with opportunities to access and succeed in those pathways; and the intentional focus on equity partnerships and pre-apprenticeship activities will create opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities.”

Career and technical education programs like construction, mechanics, and other skilled trades saw an enrollment increase at community colleges, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Jori Houck, a media relations and advocacy associate at the Association for Career and Technical Education, told BestColleges News in June that high demand and rebounds from the pandemic resulted in increased enrollment.

"There's a tremendous skills gap in a lot of these industries that saw increased enrollment in the report," Houck said in June. "And the labor market is still so volatile, and people are looking to upskill, reskill, or even move into a different career altogether."

Other Apprenticeship Building America grant recipients include professional associations, foundations, and state and local governments. The program was announced earlier this year and applications closed in April, according to a previous Department of Labor release.