Wu Announces City Awarded Grant To Expand Access to Apprenticeship Programs

Mayor Michelle Wu announced that the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD), an affiliate of the Boston Planning & Development Agency,  was recently awarded $3 million from the US Department of Labor to create and expand equitable pre-apprenticeship pathways to Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP), as well as Equity Partnerships. 

A Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a proven model of apprenticeship that has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or the Massachusetts’ State Apprenticeship Agency. RAPs enable and energize more employers to participate, and provide them access to larger talent pools that have been trained for entry-level to management positions, thereby meeting industry demands and reducing unemployment rates in the region. Equity Partnerships are collaborations with community-based organizations and partners to ensure principles are integrated throughout the initiative. Principles include equity, job quality, support for high-quality programs, evidence-based approaches, intentional outreach to BIPOC residents and new innovations.

The Greater Boston Equitable Apprenticeship Pathways grant will allow OWD and its partners to expand eight Massachusetts pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs over a four-year period. The project will aim to serve 484 participants in pre-apprenticeship programs, with a goal to place hundreds of participants into registered apprenticeships.  

 “This grant represents a step toward building strong pathways that will connect every resident and worker to opportunity,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we work to make Boston a city for everyone, expanding access to apprenticeship programs is critical to ensuring that our workforce represents all of our City’s diversity and reflects the expertise in our communities”

The grant will serve BIPOC residents, women, individuals who self-identify as having disabilities, formerly incarcerated individuals, at-risk youth, court-involved young adults, veterans, unemployed and underrepresented individuals, and those with limited education or career skills. The target growth industries include: hospitality, construction, health care, and life sciences. The target occupations within those industries are housekeeper, room attendant houseman, bricklayer, electrician, elevator constructor, heat and frost insulator, ironworker, laborers operating engineer, painter and allied trades, pipefitter/plumber, roofer, sheet metal worker, sprinkler fitter, teamster, EMT, biomanufacturing technician, and clinical trial associate; the target starting wages for apprentices in these positions range from an average of $18-$27/hr, with wage and training progression.

“The way we will reach Mayor Wu’s vision of a Boston that is more equitable, vibrant, innovative, and resilient is by ensuring that every resident has access to career opportunities in sectors that will provide family-sustaining wages and benefits,” said Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion.  “The awarding of this grant to the Office of Workforce Development is further evidence of the life-changing work the team and their partners are doing to build a more inclusive economy.”

 The project will partner with the following Equity Partners: BEST Hospitality Training Program, City of Boston EMS, Building Pathways, Inc., and MassBioEd’s Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program. These pre-apprenticeship programs will lead to quality RAPs in the following entities: UNITED HERE Local 26 Union Hotels, City of Boston EMS, North America’s Building Trades Union, and MassBioEd. Participants will get jobs at various companies and organizations, including but not limited to Boston Emergency Medical Services, Marriott Corporation, Omni Parker House, Suffolk Construction, Dimeo Construction Company and a range of life sciences companies. 

“The MassBioEd Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program was designed for people who have the attitude and aptitude to excel in mid-skilled jobs in a life sciences company but lack a portal to entry. By offering accelerated, free education and paid on the job training, we are helping to expand and diversify the industry’s workforce,” said Karla Talanian, Senior Director of Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program.“Pre-apprenticeship programming will open doors for even more local residents by providing fundamental academic and professional skills in a contextualized format that will set them up for success in a Registered Apprenticeship Program, and to eventually become valuable contributors to the Massachusetts Life Sciences industry. MassBioEd is excited to be part of this innovative initiative.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Apprenticeship Building America (ABA) grant program builds on President Biden’s goals and priorities for a strong and equitable post-pandemic economic recovery by connecting Americans to good quality jobs, strengthening and modernizing the RAP system, increasing equity and accessibility in program delivery to apprentices, bringing the Registered Apprenticeship model to more industries, and improving RAP completion rates for under-represented populations and underserved communities. The Greater Boston Equitable Apprenticeship Pathways program is funded in full by the Employment and Training Administration office of the U.S. Department of Labor. Additional details are available upon request.

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