Oklahoma will receive $200,000 as part of a workforce grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand and create apprenticeships.

This grant will allow Oklahoma to better integrate apprenticeship into its education and workforce systems; engage industry and other partners to expand apprenticeship to new sectors and new populations at scale; conduct outreach and work with employers to start new programs; promote greater inclusion and diversity in apprenticeship; and implement state incentives and system reforms.

“Apprenticeships offer a practical avenue to gain an industry-recognized skill while getting paid,” said Natalie Shirley, Secretary of Education and Workforce Development. “In Oklahoma, we’re seeing an increase in interest in apprenticeship opportunities in fields such as manufacturing, health care and information technology.”

The grants are part of $90 million in funding announced in April to expand apprenticeships nationwide as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s ApprenticeshipUSA program.

“Apprenticeships provide Oklahomans with a clear pathway to wealth-generating careers,” Governor Mary Fallin said. “This grant complements my Oklahoma Works initiative that aligns education with the critical needs of the workforce. Apprenticeships are especially important because they allow job seekers to gain needed training and on-the job experience. I appreciate the hard work of the Office of Workforce Development in securing this funding for our state.”

Apprenticeships are a proven path to high quality, secure middle-class jobs. 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $50,000 per year. The return on investment for employers is substantial, as studies indicate that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers receive on average a $1.47 return in increased productivity, reduced waste and greater front-line innovation.

For more information on Oklahoma Works, visit oklahomaworks.gov.