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Va. governor signs executive order to expand registered apprenticeships

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to expand the state’s registered apprenticeship program to help fill the half-million jobs the state believes will be created during the next seven years. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to expand the state’s support for registered apprenticeships, arrangements that allow trainees to receive pay and an on-the-job education simultaneously.

McAuliffe signed an executive order last week that directs $400,000 to expand apprenticeships for training workers in state government and in the private sector. The money, which will support 400 apprenticeships, is slated to go to employers who take on apprentices to defray the cost of training and educating them. The state currently has 14,600 registered apprentices.

Registered apprenticeships have long been a way to train electricians, plumbers and those interested in other building maintenance and construction trades. But McAuliffe hopes to expand registered apprenticeships in other industries that state officials believe are poised for growth, including cybersecurity and information technology.

Elizabeth Creamer, an adviser for workforce development to the state secretary of commerce, said many registered apprenticeships provide training through community colleges, allowing trainees to earn some college credit while they receive on-the-job training.

“Rather than having to choose between college and going to work immediately after high school, the registered apprenticeship provides both,” Creamer said.

The funding is slated to be available to businesses and state agencies at the beginning of next year.