Where Can Small Businesses Find Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Grants?

In an effort to meet the needs of small businesses and the unemployed, foundations, states, and the federal government currently offer workforce development grants and apprenticeship grants for small businesses to provide quality career apprenticeship training programs to fill jobs in high-demand occupations due to the current gap between people’s job skills and the skills needed for the jobs available in today’s marketplace.

Small businesses benefit when providing apprenticeships to new employees to obtain workplace relevant knowledge and skills to be successful as they start their new career.

Apprenticeship grants provide employment opportunities for young people and for people mid-career who find themselves at a crossroads due to changes in job availability in their profession.

Apprenticeships allow individuals to transition to a new career or learn the latest technologies and programs now needed to succeed in their field.  Training programs offered by small businesses can have both an on-the-job (paid employment) training component and an educational schooling component (related technical instruction outside the business).

These grants for small businesses benefit the small businesses by creating a skilled workforce whose training has been funded by state and foundation program grants. A win win because state employment numbers will increase, and individuals will have jobs that help them provide for their families.

State workforce development grants

Application periods vary on a state by state basis and are posted on GrantWatch when they become available. States such as New York and New Jersey provide millions of dollars each for their apprenticeship program grants through their Department of Labor each year.

This program promotes the expansion and development of United States Department of Labor (USDOL) approved Registered Apprenticeship programs that drive economic development through skills and educational attainment and create pathways to better-paying careers and advanced credentials. While this organization describes ten sectoral/occupational areas of focus, all occupations that are recognized by the US Department of Labor as “apprentice-able” are encouraged to apply.

Registered apprenticeships are high-quality, work-based earn-and-learn models that meet national standards for registration with the US Department of Labor (or federally-recognized State Apprenticeship Agencies), resulting in a nationally recognized credential.

Occupations currently targeted through the program include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Bio Pharma/Life Sciences
  • Energy, Utilities and Infrastructure
  • Retail, Hospitality and Tourism
  • Financial Services/Insurance
  • Transportation, Logistics and Distribution
  • Information Technology/Cyber Security
  • Renewable Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related sectors/occupations


Grants to Nebraska Employers and Labor Organizations for Workforce Training Programs, Deadline: 3/31/2019.

Grants to Nebraska employers and labor organizations for workforce training and development programs. Funding is intended to expand the state’s skill pool through projects that enhance earning capacity and job security for workers while building productivity.

New York State

Grants to New York Employers for Apprenticeships in High-Demand Occupations: Deadline: 3/29/2019, 4:00 pm.

Grants of up to $5,000 per apprentice to New York employers to increase work opportunities for new apprentices, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups. Apprentices will enter into high-demand occupations and trades, with a primary focus on the emerging fields of healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and other in-demand occupations.

Applicants are encouraged to actively recruit women and underrepresented populations, including youth, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.

Tax Credits for Hiring Workers with Developmental Disabilities: Deadline: Ongoing

Tax credits to New York for-profit businesses and organizations to hire employees who have developmental disabilities. Tax credits may be applied to both full-time or part-time positions. Participating businesses may receive a tax credit for each qualifying employee hired for a minimum period of 6 months.

In addition, there are private and public foundations that offer workforce development grants. Here are some available in multiple states:

Foundation grants to multiple states for workforce development:

Workforce development grants are currently available for the arts as well. In addition to grants for small businesses, GrantWatch isn’t just for nonprofits. It also lists grants for minorities, women and individuals.

Scholarships and Fellowships to USA Students and Individual Artists for Tuition and Professional Training in the Theater Arts, Deadline: 04/01/2019.

Scholarships, apprenticeships, and fellowships ranging from $7,500 to $30,000 to USA students and individual artists for professional training in the theater arts. Funding is intended to support tuition costs for students in their final year, as well as artistic fees and salaries for mentorship and mainstage production work.

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