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Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies

Grants to USA IHEs to Promote and Expand Apprenticeship
Opportunities on a National Scale

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) - Employment and Training Administration (ETA)

Deadline Date:

10/16/18 4:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to USA institutes of higher education for projects that develop and expand apprenticeship opportunities on a national scale. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to four weeks to complete. IHEs will partner with national industry associations to develop and implement projects.

The purpose of this grant program is to support sector-based approaches to expanding efforts to develop and implement apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors. The overarching goals of this grant program are threefold: (1) to accelerate the expansion of apprenticeships to new industry sectors reliant on H-1B visas, (2) to promote the large-scale expansion of apprenticeships across the nation, and (3) to increase apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans.

Recognizing that apprenticeship is a training strategy that operates on both the supply side and the demand side of the labor market, this grant program aims to increase both the number of apprenticeship positions and the ability of all Americans to gain access to this proven pathway to great careers.

On the demand side, the grant seeks to broaden apprenticeship opportunity by:

- Expanding apprenticeships to H-1B industries or occupations that have not typically used apprenticeships to bring new entrants into the workforce—such as information technology, advanced manufacturing, banking and finance, and health care—and to upskill those already employed in these industries to bolster the sector’s competitiveness;
- Increasing the level of apprenticeship activity among a range of new employers within these industry sectors, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses; and
- Promoting a sector-based approach to large-scale expansion of apprenticeships that 1) include a paid, work-based learning component and a required educational or instructional component that results in the issuance of an industry-recognized credential and 2) meet appropriate quality assurance standards.

Grant funds will be awarded to institutions of higher education in partnership with national industry associations, which together seek to develop, implement, and take to a national scale a new apprenticeship model; or expand an existing apprenticeship program to a new industry sector or occupation or a new population, on a national scale. To further magnify the reach of this grant program, we are requiring these public-private partnerships to secure matching funds, as described in Section III.B. Cost Sharing or Matching.

Given the source of grant funding, the focus of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is on training apprentices to reach middle- to high-skilled jobs along a career pathway in a variety of H-1B industries and occupations. A substantial portion of the grant must therefore fund training, including the development and implementation of academic and work-based training for the apprentices, and the provision of supportive services to help apprentices participate in and successfully complete an apprenticeship program. To meet the goal of training significant numbers of new apprentices, projects funded under this FOA must have the capacity to develop and deploy such training and related services shortly after receiving grant funds.

This grant program will also support an array of activities designed to assist industry in developing and expanding new apprenticeship programs. These activities will include the development of industry-approved, competency-based curricula for both on-the-job and classroom training; and the development of appropriate quality assurance and data systems and processes. Among other benefits, such activities help simplify program development and reduce program start-up times and costs, making it easier for employers to deploy the programs at scale; and promote program consistency and quality, thus facilitating industry-wide acceptance of the apprenticeship model.

On the supply side, this grant program aims to ensure a sustained, rich pool of talent for apprenticeship programs over the long term. Hence, grant funds will support a variety of efforts to increase access to apprenticeship among all Americans, particularly veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members, and underrepresented populations in apprenticeship, including women, people of color, and ex-offenders.

Target Industries

The Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies Program will fund projects that expand apprenticeships to industries in which apprenticeships may traditionally be unavailable or underrepresented by providing apprenticeship training that leads to wellpaying, middle- and high-skilled jobs across a diversity of H-1B industries and occupations. While program participants do not need to have those skill levels to enter the apprenticeship programs, the grant projects should help move apprentices along a career pathway to earn the education and on-the-job experience that will result in employment in middle- and high-skilled jobs.

To help American industry reduce the need for skilled foreign workers under the H-1B visa program, applicants must design their apprenticeship programs to target one of the following:

Option 1: Occupations in an H-1B industry - Applicants may choose to expand apprenticeships in an H-1B industry. An H-1B industry is an industry in which the Department has certified H-1B visas for occupations in that industry. The list of H-1B industries that are acceptable for applications is found in Appendix A. These industries are the information technology (IT) and IT-related industries, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services, and educational services. Applicants may choose to target multiple occupations within an industry, or to narrow their focus to a specific occupation within that H-1B industry. However, applicants may only target one H-1B industry. For example, an applicant may choose to focus on the IT sector, specifically targeting developing cybersecurity apprenticeships within IT only and not targeting other IT occupations.

Option 2: H-1B Occupations – Applicants may choose to target a specific H-1B occupation(s) that fall outside of the identified H-1B industries. If this occupation is not within the H-1B industries identified in Appendix A, the application must provide data showing that the H-1B occupation is one for which a significant number of H-1B visas have been certified. This may be shown by using the data provided by DOL’s Foreign Labor Certification Data Center. Applicants may propose to serve more than one H-1B occupation; however, the H-1B occupations must be within a single industry and must be scalable in that industry.

Applicants that do not clearly identify they are serving one of the H-1B industries identified in Appendix A or provide justification for a specific H-1B occupation(s) will be found non-responsive and will not be considered.

Geographic Scope:

Applicants must develop comprehensive approaches to establishing new apprenticeship models or expanding existing apprenticeship programs on a national scale. They must also identify proposed service areas, such as economic region(s), cities, counties, and states, where new or existing apprenticeship programs will be deployed initially, and explain how those programs will ultimately reach a national scale.

Program Activities/Allowable Activities:

The Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grant program will expand apprenticeship opportunities within H-1B industry sectors, particularly those sectors that have not deployed apprenticeships on a large scale previously, and increase the number and types of workers participating as apprentices. Therefore, grant project activities will include establishing new apprenticeship programs or expanding existing apprenticeship programs, creating the training infrastructure/network to deploy the new programs, promoting apprenticeship programs on a national scale, and developing training activities for an expanded pool of individual apprentices in the newly certified or expanded programs.

Applicants must design workforce development strategies that comprise all of the following activities:

1) Expanding existing apprenticeships or deploying a new apprenticeship program within an H-1B industry on a national scale, including developing program standards, meeting quality standards, and obtaining promotion and adoption by a significant number of employers within the sector;
2) Recruiting a diverse and large number of apprentices for a robust workforce;
3) Offering earn-as-you-learn education and training models that prepare individuals to successfully move into middle- to high-skilled employment;
4) Engaging a wide array of employers, large and small, in the adoption and deployment of apprenticeships to greatly expand apprenticeship opportunities; and
5) Developing a system for reviewing, approving, collecting data from, and monitoring apprenticeship programs to assess the quality of the training standards, materials, and programs.

In addition, all applicants must provide outreach plans for promoting apprenticeship to a broad network of employers, including small employers. The outreach plans must demonstrate significant reach within an industry sector. Applicants must also provide customer-focused and technical assistance supports to this network of employers to enable them to implement the new apprenticeship programs.

Optional Partners

While the required private sector partner(s) reflect the national scope and reach of the project, applicants are strongly encouraged to collaborate with other partners that can support and advance the work of the apprenticeship partnership. These include: organizations functioning as workforce intermediaries, such as workforce development boards, labor-management organizations, community-based organizations, and private non-profit service providers; other organizations to support outreach and training activities, such as: industry-led training organizations, industry intermediaries, unions, or non-profit educational organizations; Small Business Development Centers; American Job Centers; YouthBuild Programs; community organizations that provide social support and/or wrap-around services; State Apprenticeship Agencies; foundations and philanthropic organizations; and Federally-funded programs.

Applicants that are proposing to develop new apprenticeship programs may want to partner with certifiers or certification entities that will ensure that the training received meets national industry standards and provide quality assurance of the apprenticeship through third-party validation.

Participants Eligible to Receive Training

The intent of this FOA is to fund projects that provide apprenticeship training and services to individuals that will gain the skills and competencies required to enter middle- and high-skilled jobs along a career pathway in a variety of H-1B industries and occupations. This program will train individuals who are unemployed and seeking entry or reentry into the workforce, underemployed workers, and incumbent workers who need to increase their skills to remain competitive.

Individuals must be older than 16 years and not currently enrolled in school within a local educational agency. Training must result in advancement of an individual’s skills along a career pathway into middle- and high-skilled occupations.

Among the individuals eligible to receive apprenticeship training, those of particular interest include veterans, military spouses, transitioning service members, and ex-offenders. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to include individuals who are not traditionally represented in apprenticeship programs and H-1B industries, including women, people of color, and ex-offenders.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184133

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Approximately 15 to 30 grants

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards range from $1 million to $12 million. You may apply for a ceiling amount of up to $12 million.

Term of Contract:

The period of performance is 48 months with an anticipated start date of February 1, 2019.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

In keeping with the authority provided by Congress under ACWIA, grants under this program will be awarded to an apprenticeship partnership of public and private sector entities. The apprenticeship partnership, including the lead applicant, must include public and private sector entities; otherwise the application will be considered non-responsive and will not be considered or reviewed. An entity cannot serve as more than one type of required partner for the purpose of meeting FOA requirements.

The requirement for a private sector partner is described in Section III.A.3.a Required Private Sector Partner(s). To meet the requirement for a public sector partner, one or more of the following must be a public sector entity: the lead applicant, a public institution of higher education that is a consortium member, or an optional partner as described in Section III.A.3.b Optional Partners. Grants will be awarded to the lead applicant of an apprenticeship partnership, which will serve as the grantee and have overall fiscal and administrative responsibility for the grant.

1. Eligible Lead Applicant Entities

For the purposes of this FOA, eligible lead applicants include: a) an institution of higher education representing a consortium of institutions of higher education, (IHEs), as defined in Section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002); or b) a state system of higher education, such as a community college system office or a single state higher educational board.

To be eligible for inclusion in the apprenticeship partnership, a lead applicant that is an IHE must be accredited, by the closing date of this FOA and remain so throughout the entity’s performance in this grant program, by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association that has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A database of institutions that are accredited by bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education can be found at Generally, institutions of higher education are two-year and four-year colleges and universities, including institutions that serve minorities (e.g., Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, or others designated by the U.S. Department of Education at

Lead applicants must identify their institution type in Section 9 of the SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance. A lead applicant that is an IHE must submit documentation as an attachment verifying that it is an institution of higher education accredited by an agency that has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants that do not provide this documentation will be considered non-responsive.

Please note that all elements of 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards) and 2 CFR 2900 (DOL’s Supplement 2 CFR Part 200) apply to any entity that carries out a Federal award as a recipient or subrecipient, including for-profit organizations. This includes the monitoring and the examination of their records. In addition, the entity may not earn or keep any profit resulting from Federal financial assistance.

Pre-Application Information:

The closing date for receipt of applications under this Announcement is October 16, 2018. Applications must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Matching Funds: This program requires cost sharing or matching funds. Such funds may be in the form of cash or in-kind contributions and must be equal to 35 percent of the total Federal share of costs.

How to Register to Apply through Read through the registration process carefully before registering. These steps may take as much as four weeks to complete, and this time should be factored into plans for timely electronic submission in order to avoid unexpected delays that could result in the rejection of an application.

All applicants for Federal grant and funding opportunities must have a DUNS number, and must supply their DUNS Number on the SF-424. D&B website:

Applicants must register with the System for Award Management (SAM) before
submitting an application. Find instructions for registering with SAM at

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Address mailed applications to:

The U.S. Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration, Office of Grants Management
Attention: Brinda Ruggles, Grant Officer
Reference FOA-ETA-18-08
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N4716
Washington, DC 20210

Hand-delivered applications will be received at the above address at the 3rd Street Visitor Entrance.

For further information about this FOA, please contact Ariam Ferro, Grants Management Specialist, Office of Grants Management, at (202) 693-3968. Applicants should e-mail all technical questions to

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming