The Full Circle: The Role of Innovative Registered Apprenticeships in Workforce Development

Vanessa Soto
Innovative Apprenticeship Outreach and Education Analyst

In July 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) with the State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity, and Innovation Grant (SAEEI) to create apprenticeship pathways within the local workforce ecosystem. The Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS), as a steward of these funds, awarded the Workforce Development Apprenticeship Program (WDAP)-Workforce Development Board Kern, Inyo, & Mono (WDB) as one of the sub-grantees to receive the SAEEI grant to create equitable registered apprenticeship pathways. The WDB collaborated with a diverse set of stakeholders to establish and bolster WDAP. This included the California Workforce Association (CWA), Employers Training Resource, Garden Pathways, California State University Sacramento College of Continuing Education (CSUS CCE), and Butte County Office of Education. The multifaceted collaboration exemplifies the importance of united efforts in the creation and advancement of innovative registered apprenticeships to address the needs of the current workforce and create the jobs of the future.


WDAP will work to serve several employers that include many workforce development boards located in various areas across California and will have 4 cohorts. The first cohort will support the Kern/Inyo/Mono counties. Thirty incumbent workers from Employers Training Resource and the community-based organization Garden Pathways presently participate in the program's 1st cohort. Combining a blend of in-classroom instruction and on-the-job paid learning caters to the diverse needs of learners through various modalities, which allows them to balance work, education, and personal commitments effectively while learning the practical and theoretical aspects of professional, highly skilled occupations. With the successful completion of WDAP, Workforce Development Professional apprentices will earn a Workforce Development Professional Certificate, will be guaranteed a journey-level position with the appropriate placement on the wage scale through their employer sponsor, offer career pathway upward mobility, and as members of their local communities, are uniquely positioned to serve their community in this role. As apprentices graduate from their programs, WDAP will serve as a culmination of the importance of registered apprenticeships as a pathway to upskill for occupations that greatly impact California’s communities.

October 2023