Murkowski Leads Legislation to Strengthen Alaska’s Workforce

Washington, DC –U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today announced that an initiative she authored, the Rural Apprenticeship Demonstration Program, was included as a provision within the National Apprenticeship Act, legislation she is co-leading with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

The Rural Apprenticeship Demonstration Program would authorize funding to be competitively awarded for direct subsidies to promote rural participation in apprenticeship programs, as well as provide greater access to existing apprenticeship programs. The new program attempts to address some of the unique financial challenges related to apprenticeships in rural communities as well as provide greater flexibility to administer apprenticeship programs in a way that makes sense for the populations they are serving—a critical component for a state like Alaska.

“Helping address our ongoing workforce shortage is one of my top priorities, but the standard one-size-fits all approach just doesn’t work for many Alaskans. By including my Rural Apprenticeship Demonstration Program as a provision within our recently introduced National Apprenticeship Act, we can help strengthen Alaska’s skilled labor force in rural and remote communities by reducing barriers to apprenticeships for those living outside of urban hubs. Coming from a state where 80% of our communities are off the road system, the added support provided through this program – including funding for travel and greater flexibility in how the programs are run – will be a gamechanger,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m committed to ensuring that all Alaskans have the opportunity to build a bright future, no matter what community they call home.”

Funding provided through the rural apprenticeship program may be used to cover numerous program-related costs, including (but not limited to):

  • Housing
  • Transportation to and from the work site or another rural apprenticeship program site
  • The costs of child care and elder care
  • Fees associated with the attainment of a driver’s license, and out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of participation in the rural apprenticeship program
  • Technology and internet connectivity costs and costs of programs to facilitate remote and distance learning