California Invests More Than $231 Million to Advance, Expand Apprenticeship

workforce trainingThe California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), its Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency have released a five-point action plan to expand the state’s number of apprentices to a half million by 2029. This comes as California invests significantly in apprenticeship via the 2022–2023 state budget.

“Apprenticeship is a key strategy for meeting California’s workforce development needs,” said Labor Secretary Natalie Palugyai. “With this new intentional funding and our roadmap for expansion, the State is creating equitable onramps to careers and opportunities for upward mobility for Californians.”

Goal Is to Serve 500,000 Apprentices by 2029

The “Advancing Apprenticeship in California: A Five-Point Action Plan” was developed in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s goal of serving 500,000 apprentices in California by 2029. This plan sets up the framework and strategies to meet that ambitious goal through new and revised policies. These include refining state policies and processes in many different sectors, addressing gender imbalance in the building trades, and creating more opportunities for youth through apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

“We developed this plan through collaborative discussions and engagement with employers, educators, labor and community groups,” said DIR Director Katie S. Hagen. “This funding will help lay the groundwork for a major expansion of the apprenticeship model, which allows workers to earn as they learn on the job.”

The plan’s five points include:

  1. Supporting regional and sectoral apprenticeship intermediaries;
  2. Expanding new and innovative apprenticeships;
  3. Growing and expanding access to traditional construction apprenticeships;
  4. Supporting youth apprenticeship for in-school and out-of-school youth; and
  5. Expanding state and local public sector apprenticeships.

Bitwise Industries Featured as a Case Study

The action report highlighted California Chamber of Commerce member company Bitwise Industries as a case study in the section that discussed expanding new and innovative apprenticeships. Bitwise Industries provides technology services, workforce training programs and co-working spaces in Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, Oakland and several other locations across the United States. Since the company’s founding in 2013, Bitwise has focused on expanding access to careers in the tech industry, including through apprenticeships, and low-cost or no-cost online courses. In its nationally registered Workforce Tech Apprenticeship, launched in 2021 with a new round of venture capital investments, learners select from online tech training classes and are invited to enroll in competency-based apprenticeships in marketing, sales, software development and tech support, all while working on Bitwise contracts under expert supervision.

Budget Funding

The 2022–2023 budget invests more than $231 million in apprenticeship-related spending this year and more than $480 million over the next three years. New funding includes $175 million to create apprenticeship innovation funding for non-traditional programs, $65 million to create a youth apprenticeship grant program, $15 million to fund a unit that works to advance women in construction, and an increase of more than 30% to the reimbursement rate for training in building and construction apprenticeships.