U.S. Labor Department announces new funding to help grow apprenticeship programs

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WASHINGTON (GRAY DC) -- The U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday a new rule and over $183 million in grants to help expand apprenticeship opportunities across the country.

U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta discusses apprenticeship expansion. (Source: Gray DC)

"Apprenticeships are earned while you learn opportunities. A way for individuals to acquire skills without any student debt, because it would be they're earning and they're learning at the same time," said U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.

The grants are going to 23 colleges and educational institutions that partner with private companies on apprenticeships, according to the department's press release. This includes colleges and businesses in Alabama, Colorado and Ohio.

The partnering companies will also provide matching funds for the programs.

"So for example, in Alabama $12 million will be invested. It's going to be matched by private sector dollars, and that's going to focus on advanced manufacturing," Acosta said.

The department also announced an added $100 million for similar efforts and to "close the skills gap," the release said.

The new rule will also create a set of guidelines for apprenticeships to allow the programs to be recognized by the department and guarantee the programs are living up to quality standards.

This follows the president's 2017 executive order tasking the Labor Department with putting together a list of recommendations for expanding apprenticeship programs in the U.S.