The AFL-CIO Working for America Institute (WAI) has been awarded a three-year, $3.4 million grant from the Department of Labor to develop apprenticeship programs in five communities to train people for skilled manufacturing jobs and careers.
The programs will be set up with the union/management Joint Apprenticeship Training Councils (JATC) in each state. There will be an emphasis to recruit minorities, women, veterans and the long-term jobless.
The need for this training reflects the demand for skilled workers in occupations currently filled by foreign workers because of lack of domestic workforce trained in those skills. Also with manufacturing showing signs of rebound, employers say they are having, and expect to continue to have trouble finding qualified and trained workers, especially as manufacturing jobs are requiring more technical skills.
The grant also coincides with a renewed commitment from the Obama administration to restore the American manufacturing base. It comes under a Labor Department program that aims to place qualified U.S. workers in fields and industries that currently use H1B foreign workers. Now, employers pay a fee to bring foreign workers to fill those jobs, and a portion of those fees go to programs like this one to create an American workforce for the 21st century.