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State workforce board OKs $200,000 for apprenticeship initiative

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Staff Report
colanews@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 5, 2016

The State Workforce Development Board has launched an initiative to award $200,000 in grants for apprenticeships.

The initiative aims to provide more training and employment opportunities for “priority” populations such as individuals with disabilities, ex-offenders, youth and others, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

Applicants for the grants must be a partner with a community-based organization, a local workforce development board and a business, as well as serve one or more of the priority populations, as outlined in the grant request for proposal.

According to a news release from the workforce agency, the board approved the grant program because apprenticeships have proved to be effective as a benefit to both the business community and the workforce.

“The board has placed an emphasis on the development of apprenticeship opportunities. It produces highly skilled employees, increases productivity and improves retention, while offering workers the opportunity to earn higher wages, national credentials and career advancement,” said Mikee Johnson, board chairman and president of Orangeburg-based Cox Industries.

Apprenticeship opportunities have developed to meet the state industry’s workforce need, said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the DEW and a member of the workforce board.

“By thinking beyond traditional apprenticeships, the SWDB is encouraging smart ways to bridge the gap between education and employment and helping industries attract people that can benefit from the combination of classroom and on-the-job experiences,” Stanton said.

Proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. Feb. 29, and grant recipients will be notified by March 18.

The Apprenticeship Grant RFP (.doc) can be downloaded from the DEW website.

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