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Labor Department Prioritizes Strengthening Youth Workforce

The first Youth Apprenticeship Week focuses on apprenticeship opportunities in high-demand fields.

May 6, 2024

For the first Youth Apprenticeship Week (YAW) held May 5-11, the U.S. Department of Labor aims to highlight the value of Registered Apprenticeship program opportunities for youth, ages 16–24. Registered Apprenticeship programs allow youth to earn competitive wages while obtaining relevant training and experience to start their careers, often including the opportunity to earn college credit. This week builds off the success of National Apprenticeship Week, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in November.

In correlation to YAW, the labor department awarded US$98 million in grants to 72 organizations in 30 states and Guam to provide training and employment services in an effort to expand access to apprenticeship opportunities for young workers. The YouthBuild Program grants range from $700,000 to $1.5 million each and will support pre-apprenticeships to educate and train young people, who are neither enrolled in school or now in the labor market, for jobs in construction and other high-demand industries. YouthBuild grants will deliver education and training to enable participants to build or rehabilitate affordable housing in their communities for people in need.

YouthBuild grants support a pre-apprenticeship model that offers disadvantaged young people with occupational skills training, employment services, and educational guidance, with an emphasis on green building techniques, including understanding sustainable building materials, solar panel installation, and weatherization processes.

YouthBuild participants will divide their time between classroom instruction—where they earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree—and workplace training to prepare for postsecondary occupations. The grants also will allow young people to train for careers in healthcare, information technology, manufacturing and logistics, culinary arts, and hospitality.

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