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Biden Infrastructure Plan Could Boost Apprenticeship Programs

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Monday, April 26, 2021   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Apprenticeship programs at community colleges are poised for a big investment under President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan. The plan includes $12 billion dollars for community colleges.

At a recent congressional hearing, members from both parties expressed support for targeting some of those funds at apprenticeship programs within community colleges.

Shalee Hodgson, associate dean for technology, applied science and public services at Clackamas Community College, said it's important this type of on-the-job-training pays people for their work.

"Supporting the workforce in that way and helping people gain that education while also helping them provide for their families is really critical and helps people stay in the job, in the labor market, really attached and engaged in the work and will be critical to help us with infrastructure projects," Hodgson explained.

Hodgson reported 13 of Oregon's 17 community colleges support registered apprenticeship programs.

While the state has an extensive network of programs, Hodgson contended it would be good if they could cover more types of work. She pointed out most are based in construction trades.

"We have the opportunity to really look at expanding into areas like manufacturing, information technology," Hodgson suggested. "There's a group in central Oregon looking at an apprenticeship for early childhood education workers."

Hodgson noted there are also many advantages to having apprenticeship programs associated with community colleges.

"If you are an apprentice that is receiving training at a community college, you are eligible for all of the student services and supports that a traditional student would be eligible for; financial aid, advising, counseling," Hodgson outlined. "All those different pieces."

There are about 10,000 apprentices in Oregon.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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