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New Grant Will Support Apprenticeships for Innovation

Last week, we were pleased to join North Carolina State University and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation for an exciting announcement by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia: the university has been awarded a $6 million grant as part of the “Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap” program. This federal program is creating 28 apprenticeship programs nationally, and NC State’s application, which focuses on artificial intelligence, was among the largest awards in the country. We were pleased to support the Friday Institute last fall as they submitted their application and look forward to working together on this innovative workforce development program.

Friday Institute for Educational Innovation Executive Director Dr. Carla C. Johnson and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia

North Carolina continues to be a leader in advanced manufacturing, information technology, healthcare and engineering, but the lack of skilled workers threatens not just these industries, but our entire competitive economy. Many of your organizations have shared that you’re beginning to explore the possibilities of AI in terms of training and preparing the next generation of workers.

The Friday Institute’s vision is particularly timely in this aspect. Using the funds from this grant, the organization will work with variety of industry partners to create a work-based learning opportunity to educate individuals in emerging AI technologies while earning real-world, on-the-job experience and industry-recognized credentials. Industry partners include NC Chamber Cornerstone member IBM and member MCNC, among others. The program will prepare up to 5,000 apprentices across 21 different AI careers in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology.

As a center of research and innovation, North Carolina is the ideal place to create this next generation of apprenticeship, and NCSU is already a national leader in connecting higher education directly to the workforce. NCSU’s Centennial Campus is a model of public-private partnerships, and it leads the way in converting research into real-world applications. The Friday Institute has also been a critical research and policy partner to the business community, and we look forward to collaborating with NCSU and the Friday Institute on this important work.