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$200,000 Federal Grant Awarded to SC Technical College System to Expand Apprenticeship in South Carolina

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the SC Technical College System a $200,000 grant to expand apprenticeship in the state. This grant is part of the ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grants designed to expand and expedite registered apprenticeship programs nationwide.

The SC Technical College System's Apprenticeship Carolina program will use this funding to promote apprenticeships across all industries and increase awareness of youth apprenticeship programs.

Apprenticeship Carolina is the U.S. Department of Labor's official liaison for registering all apprenticeship programs - both adult and youth - in South Carolina. Established in 2007, Apprenticeship Carolina works to increase awareness and use of registered apprenticeships in the state. The growth has been phenomenal. Since 2007, the number of programs has increased eight-fold from 90 to 786. The number of apprentices is just over 15,500 from a mere 777 in 2007.

Each month, the program adds approximately 120 new apprentices and registers one or more programs per week. Many think of traditional trades such as construction, electrician and plumber as the ideal occupations for apprenticeship. Apprenticeship Carolina has broadened that scope to include nontraditional industry sectors like health care, information technology, tourism and advanced manufacturing.

Due to the program's innovative approach to expansion of programs, South Carolina leads the nation in growth and diversity of apprentices. South Carolina boasts a higher number of female and minority apprentices than the national average - 29% of the state's apprentices are female compared to 6% nationally, and 44% of the state's active apprentices are minority compared to 35% nationally.

"The SC Technical College System and its Apprenticeship Carolina program are dedicated to increasing the awareness and use of registered apprenticeships in South Carolina. We know from experience that apprenticeships can go a long way to bridging the skills gap that so many companies across our state face," said Susan Pretulak, vice president of economic development with the SC Technical College System. "This grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will help us to promote and expand apprenticeship, especially youth apprenticeship programs, in South Carolina."

An apprenticeship is a time-tested method of employee development that combines supervised on-the-job learning and job-related education. A program "registered" with the U.S. Department of Labor shows an employer's visible commitment to developing a high-quality workforce that meets nationally recognized training standards. Registered apprenticeship programs also enable employees to receive incremental wage increases as they demonstrate new competencies throughout the training program.

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