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Kansas governor announces grant program to expand apprenticeships

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(The Center Square) – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that the state’s Office of Apprenticeship has launched a program to expand apprenticeship opportunities in the state.

The Office created the MeadowLARK — Leading Apprenticeship Results in Kansas — Initiative. The governor’s office said the grant program will expand the state’s Registered Apprenticeship opportunities.

“MeadowLARK is an important tool that will be used to grow the state’s skilled workforce in rural and urban communities across multiple industries – further advancing Kansas’ economic growth,” Governor Kelly said in the release. “By continuing to work together, we are fostering a brighter, more resilient, and more prosperous future for all who call the Sunflower State home.”

MeadowLARK received more than $6.3 million via a State Apprenticeship Expansion Formula (SAEF) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The state will prioritize subsidizing apprenticeships in high-demand and high-wage occupations, the governor’s office said.

“Since it was established last year, the Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship is making huge strides to expand the highest quality earn-and-learn opportunities across our state,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Through the MeadowLARK funding, the office will continue bringing together businesses, industries, labor, workforce boards, higher education systems, state departments, and other stakeholders, with one objective: Making Kansas a top 25 apprenticeship state by 2025.”

Over the next three years, MeadowLARK will invest almost $5.7 million “to advance integration efforts with local Workforce Boards across Kansas and establish Statewide and Regional Multi-Employer Intermediaries,” according to the release.

Statewide Multi-Employer Intermediaries include the following:

K-12 Teacher Educator Registered Apprenticeship with the Kansas Department of EducationJustice Involved Registered Apprenticeship with Local Kansas WorkforceONE

Statewide Multi-Employer Intermediaries work to make establishing Registered Apprenticeship programs easier for specific employers.

“This Registered Apprenticeship program is a critical step toward addressing the teacher shortage here in Kansas,” Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson said in the release. “These additional grant funds will help ease the financial hurdle many aspiring educators face on their way to earning a college degree and enable us to expand the program.”

Kansas WorkforceONE will work to create opportunities for populations that face disproportionate barriers to employment.

“Kansas WorkforceONE is excited about the opportunities that the MeadowLARK grant will provide us,” Deb Scheibler, Executive Director at Kansas WorkforceONE said in the release. “We can use this to expand Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship opportunities across central and western Kansas for some of our most vulnerable populations.”

The state’s Regional Multi-Employer Intermediaries include:

Wichita-based health economy occupations, advanced manufacturing, and other emerging industries with Workforce AllianceKansas City-based Youth Registered Apprenticeships with Workforce PartnershipsWorkforce occupations will work with Southeast KANSASWORKS

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