Guide to Financial Resources for Apprenticeships

This guide helps you get started with finding and obtaining financial resources for apprenticeships.

Guide to Financial Resources for Apprenticeships

Through Registered Apprenticeships, employers invest in their employees’ development of essential knowledge and skills so they can grow within the company and have a successful career. Apprenticeships can be an excellent approach for solar energy, wind energy, building performance, and other clean energy fields.  

Importantly, apprenticeships require financial resources in the form of time and money. The good news is that these investments have demonstrated positive returns, with multiple studies identifying an average return of nearly $1.50 for every $1 invested. 

Why do apprenticeships need dedicated resources? First, the program needs to be developed, registered, and administered, including record keeping, reporting, and compliance. Mentors must be selected and trained, and they must spend time teaching and supervising the apprentices continuously on the job throughout the program. Apprentices need to be hired and onboarded, and apprentices must complete related instruction through training classes. 

Apprenticeship programs require continuous investment which needs to be incorporated into regular business operations. A variety of funding options are available but can be challenging to identify and secure. This guide is intended to help you get started with finding and obtaining these resources.

Exploring Funding Opportunities

Clean energy companies training Registered Apprentices may apply for financial incentives through IREC’s Apprenticeships in Clean Energy (ACE) Network. These incentives are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and at least one-half of the apprentices supported must be from underrepresented groups. You can learn more about these incentive opportunities here.

Other resources may be available to cover some additional costs of apprenticeship programs. Depending on your needs and the availability of funding sources, these funds could support:

  • Apprentices’ wages
  • Supplies and equipment (books, safety equipment, tools, uniforms, training materials)
  • Wraparound services (transportation, child care, clothing, counseling, etc.)
  • Compensation for trainers’ reduced productivity
  • Program development and administration costs
  • Mentorship and train-the-trainer activities
  • Tuition for related technical instruction (RTI)

 

Funding sources vary widely and are constantly changing. Companies should be aware that identifying and applying for funding is time-consuming, and many applications are rejected. Additionally, grantees are required to report on expenditures and results. For these reasons, companies are encouraged to utilize internal resources as much as possible. Self-funding helps ensure company-wide commitment to program success and sustainability.   

With that in mind, below are some potential sources of funding for apprenticeship programs. Opportunities change frequently and are often only available for a limited time with narrow application windows. Those seeking funding will need to regularly monitor and be in communication with relevant agencies and organizations. The ACE Network is available to assist clean energy employers in understanding and pursuing financial and technical support for apprenticeships. Contact the ACE Network for more information.

Potential Sources of Funding for Apprenticeship Programs

State Apprenticeship Offices assist program sponsors in planning and registering new programs, and they approve program registrations. Some allocate state funds to employers. They may be either State Apprenticeship Agencies or state or regional locations of the federal Office of Apprenticeship. 

The Federal Resource Playbook for Registered Apprenticeship has links to resources from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal agencies and departments. 

DOL grant announcements provide regular updates on grants, including but not limited to apprenticeships.

These states offer tax credits to employers of apprentices and/or tuition support for their related technical instruction (RTI).

The National Apprenticeship Network has links to many regional networks that can assist employers, including by identifying funding sources.

Local Workforce Development Boards allocate federal, state, and local funds for a variety of purposes, including support for apprenticeships.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is the source for most Workforce Development Boards’ federal funds, which can be used to support programs and individual apprentices. Veterans, low-income job seekers, and dislocated workers are their top priorities. They also support reentry employment opportunities for people who were formerly incarcerated.

Funding may be available from various sources for hiring apprentices who diversify the workforce, e.g., women, underrepresented populations, people with disabilities; or provide job opportunities for other underserved populations, such as dislocated workers, justice-impacted individuals, youth, and rural residents.

Employers of apprentices who are veterans facing obstacles to employment are eligible for incentives from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

High schools and colleges that teach career and technical education (CTE) courses receive federal Perkins funds that can be used in registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs including both RTI and on-the-job learning. They are administered by state education departments.

Some states pay for apprenticeship-related instruction through the community college system at no cost to the employer or apprentice.

Potential Funding Sources Available to Apprentices

Some funding to support apprenticeship programs is available directly to individuals who are participating in or preparing for an apprenticeship. Employers of apprentices can refer applicants to these sources and possibly reduce their own costs while expanding the applicant pool.

The GI Bill provides tax-free stipends to veterans in approved apprenticeship programs in the form of a monthly housing allowance and reimbursements for some educational expenses. State Approving Agencies authorize programs to give veterans access to stipends. Be sure to apply.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) offers support services such as transportation and child care to income-eligible enrollees.

American Job Centers offer job seekers training, career information, connections to employers, and support services including access to financial resources.

Some states’ community or technical colleges provide RTI at no charge.

If RTI is provided by a school or college as part of its regular program of study, apprentices may receive Pell Grants and/or work-study stipends.

State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies offer a wide range of support services to people with disabilities who are employed or being trained, including transportation, mentoring, and reimbursement for job expenses.

The information on this page is derived from a review of general best practices, as market research conducted in development of the Green Workforce Connect website. Thanks to all contributors to this resource including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP), National Community Action Partnership (NCAP), Service Year Alliance, and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration under Contract number [1605C2-23-C-0015], the contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of same by the U.S. Government.