Commissioners Court Unanimously Approves Apprenticeship Advantage Program

21 Feb, 23

Partnership betweencounty and labor-managed apprenticeship programs will train workers and createcareer pipelines that connect people to in-demand jobs that offer strong wagesand benefits.

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis on Tuesday applauded Commissioners Court’s unanimous approval of a labor-managed apprenticeship program as part of the County’s broader Apprenticeship Advantage initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Before Commissioners Court voted on the measure, Commissioner Ellis joined County Judge Lina Hidalgo and labor leaders to outline the   partnership with Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation. The program will provide apprenticeship training to over 1,500 people in the construction, public transportation, and live entertainment industries. It will connect them to a career pipeline for good paying jobs. The two-year contract is for $9.1 million.

“Working people deserve a safe workplace, good benefits, strong wages and the opportunity to build a better life for their families,” said Commissioner Ellis. “A skilled and empowered workforce is key to a thriving, resilient Harris County economy.”

The Harris County Advantage Apprenticeship program was established to provide opportunities for groups traditionally underrepresented in apprenticeships, including underemployed, unemployed, dislocated workers, opportunity youth, people of color, women, and those without college degrees.

In January, Commissioners Court approved a partnership with NPower, a nonprofit that creates pathways to economic prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities. NPower will enroll and train 175 people in its apprenticeship program to receive in-demand tech industry certifications. The initial two-year contract was approved for $1.8 million.

“Apprenticeships are a proven model for cost effective training that leads to better outcomes for both workers and employers,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Workers receive a skills-based education that provides them a pipeline to good paying jobs that are in high demand. Employers gain access to highly skilled employees, and see lower recruitment costs, lower employee turnover, and increased employee productivity.”