Like all programs, there is a cost associated with establishing a registered apprenticeship program. These costs can be incurred not only by the college, but also by community stakeholders, and certainly by employer partners involved. While specific costs associated with registered apprenticeship programming is covered in a previous section of this toolkit, how a college and partners can address these costs requires additional detail.
External funding, such as grants from public or private sources, is often used for starting new registered apprenticeship initiatives, and employer partners identified at the onset may also be willing to contribute. Your college may also be prepared to cover some costs out of the operating budget. Frequently, colleges draw on multiple sources of funding, which can be braided or blended.
Blended funding occurs when funds are combined and accounted for, tracked, and reported as a single funding stream. Braided funding refers to the alignment of resources to improve impact and efficiency for a specific purpose. It occurs when funds come from various entities and origins, and while utilized for the same overall program, are expensed, tracked, and reported separately.
While blended funding requires less reporting and tracking, braided funding is more commonly seen when a college is responsible for reporting financial expenses and outcomes to multiple funders or originating entities (i.e. A federal grant, a state grant, and a local non-profit). In the case of braided funding, it is important to recognize the different requirements and responsibilities associated with each source of funding, utilize that funding accordingly, and then report all necessary documentation to each funding entity. While this may sound complicated, the use of these strategies demonstrates support for the program not limited to a single source and allows the leveraging of funds to ultimately go further in achieving desired outcomes. Braided funding can be beneficial in improving the coordination and alignment of funding and services among partners, reducing duplication of services and expenses, expanding capacity, engaging additional expertise, and improving overall program impacts and outcomes.
When braiding funding for registered apprenticeship programming, your college should already have a clear vision for the program and the necessary costs and needs to implement the program. To engage multiple separate streams of funds to cover these costs, a budget should be designed to account for each funding stream and amount and how these funds will be utilized to meet the shared goals and strategies. While your college can braid many funding sources internally, you can also engage external partners to utilize funding streams specific to their organization’s abilities and priorities.
A general process for this activity could look like this:
- Break down project by need, impact, and costs.
- Identify which costs the college will cover and brainstorm sources for these funds.
- Identify which costs the other partners involved will cover and brainstorm sources for these funds.
- Create a plan to secure funding from each source and manage the flow of money to the program.
Braided funding can benefit all partners, but not always financially. Braided funding works best if you have a specific goal or use in mind and it is clear to all partners. Some organizations are better positioned to receive specific streams of funding, and some organizations are better positioned to give certain streams of funding. You must set clear expectations on sustainability of the funding sources to ensure long term success.
While sources of funding will vary, some common sources of funding used in registered apprenticeship programming, and the origin of those funds include:
- Skilled Trades Funds
- Tax Incentives
- Employer Tuition Contribution
- Registered Apprenticeship Scholarships
Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds, such as:
- Title I: Adult and Dislocated Worker/Youth
- Title II: Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA)
- Title III: Employment Services (Wagner-Peyser Act)
- Title IV: Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Department of Education funding, such as:
- Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education
- Pell Grants
- TRIO Student Support Services
U.S. Department of Labor ETA appropriated and/or H1B grant funding, such as:
- American Apprenticeship Initiative
- Scaling Apprenticeships
- Closing the Skills Gap
Other federal funds, such as:
- Reemployment Eligibility Assessment and Services
- Veterans Employment and Training and GI Bill
- Tax incentives
- Workforce and Economic Development funding
- Economic Development grants
- Foundations or other philanthropic entities
- Private Grants from individual donors or organizations
- Employer/Industry Contributions
Other Partnership Funding Opportunities:
- Labor Organizations
- Community Based Organization
- Faith Based Organizations
- Local Non-Profits
ECCA Success Stories and Promising Practices
- Hutchinson Community College (Kansas)
- Mott Community College (Michigan)
- Wallace State Community College (Alabama)
- Braided Funds to Support Registered Apprenticeships. Marcia Black-Watson, Michigan Talent Investment Agency.