State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, on Wednesday introduced legislation to modernize apprenticeships to meet 21st century workforce needs, make this valuable on-the-job training available to more Californians and integrate programs into high school and community college.
Senate Bill 923 would create the Educational Apprenticeship Innovation Prize, or EdPrize, to encourage the development of modern apprenticeships by school districts, businesses, and community colleges. The prize would expand a successful workforce training model into fields that currently have few apprenticeships, such as computer technology, health care, hospitality, financial services, clean energy and advanced manufacturing.
“Whether students are bound for the workforce, community college, or eventually a four-year university, there is no substitute for on-the-job-experience,” Pavley said. “Modern apprenticeships can open doors for thousands of young Californians while meeting the needs of growing industries.”
“This would provide a valuable tool for our young people entering the workplace and hopefully as time unfolds there would be additional money available for many more grant opportunities,” Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth said.
California has a 20-percent youth unemployment rate – fourth highest in the nation – but according to a recent survey, 70 percent of California businesses do not have enough qualified job applicants. Apprenticeships have a proven track record of job-skills matching. According to the Department of Labor, 88 percent of U.S. apprentices were employed six months after finishing training, and apprentices earned an average of $300,000 more than similar non-apprentices over their lifetimes.
However, apprenticeships are currently available mostly in male-dominated construction trades. Only 6 percent of apprentices in the state are women, according to the California Apprenticeship Council.
SB 923 would reward schools and community colleges that work with businesses and local Workforce Investment Boards to identify competitive and emerging local industry sectors and offer tailored apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships. The prize would be integrated into the state’s $250-million Career Pathways Trust, a new initiative to expand career pathways in California.
Pavley’s Senate district includes about half of the Santa Clarita Valley.