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Education, Labor Departments Announce New Efforts to Advance Teacher Preparation Programs and Expand Registered Apprenticeships for Educators

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The U.S. Departments of Education and Labor today announced a series of new efforts to expand Registered Apprenticeships for educators and invest in teacher preparation programs. These efforts advance a key focus area of the Department of Education’s Raise the Bar: Lead the World initiative to boldly improve learning conditions by eliminating educator shortages and build on a joint letter sent by the Secretaries of Education and Labor last summer, which called on state education and workforce leaders to take action to address educator shortages. Today’s announcement includes: 

  • New National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (NGS) for Registered Apprenticeships for K-12 teachers developed by The Pathways Alliance;
  • More than $27 million from the Department of Education to support educator preparation programs; 
  • More than $65 million from the Department of Labor to develop and scale Registered Apprenticeship programs in critical sectors across 45 states—with 35 targeting education;  
  • The Department of Labor is announcing a new industry intermediary to launch, promote and expand Registered Apprenticeship programs for K-12 educators; and 
  • A policy brief authored by the Department of Education that highlights how states are taking strategic steps outlined by the Biden-Harris Administration to support the effective recruitment, preparation, and retention of teachers. 

“Teacher apprenticeships are a key strategy in our plan to Raise the Bar in education and improve learning conditions in our schools by ending the educator shortage and providing all students with great teachers who are prepared to succeed in the classroom from day one,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Providing opportunities for future teachers to earn while they learn has created an affordable and exciting pathway into the teaching profession that can help states build a talented and diverse pipeline of educators at a moment when doing so has never mattered more. I’m thrilled that in just one year, the Biden-Harris Administration has helped grow the number of states with Registered Apprenticeship programs for teachers from two to 21, and look forward to these new guidelines helping get all 50 states get onboard.” 

“The Department of Labor’s investments will enable states to strengthen educator pipelines and create pathways to opportunity through a proven earn-as-you-learn model of Registered Apprenticeships,” said Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su. “This important partnership with the U.S. Department of Education advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to building a highly-skilled, diverse workforce that is reflective of the communities that teachers serve.” 

“We are grateful to the Departments of Labor and Education and all of our partner organizations for their leadership and partnership in developing these apprenticeship standards,” said Erin Mote from The Pathways Alliance. “More than just guidelines, these standards represent our collective commitment to nurturing a preparation pipeline that supports broad access to high-quality preparation and champions diversity and inclusivity for educators.” 

National Guidelines for K-12 Teacher Registered Apprenticeships: 

The newly released National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards (NGS) for Registered Apprenticeships for K-12 teachers was developed by The Pathways Alliance and approved by the Department of Labor. The NGS can guide states, school districts, and other apprenticeship sponsors to align their programs to quality standards for K-12 teachers. It also provides a framework that partners can use to develop state specific program standards and provide for expedited development and approval of new apprenticeship programs. 

The Pathways Alliance NGS working group included the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Learning Policy Institute, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Center for Grow Your Own, National Center for Teacher Residencies, Arizona State University, Cooperative Educational Service Agency 6, Deans for Impact, InnovateEDU, Inspire Texas, Prepared To Teach, Substantial, and TeachMe Education. 

Department of Education Investments: 

The Department of Education also released a policy brief, Raise the Bar: Eliminating Educator Shortages through Increased Compensation, High-Quality and Affordable Preparation and Teacher Leadership, that highlights how states nationwide are taking strategic steps outlined by the Biden-Harris Administration to support the effective recruitment, preparation, and retention of teachers. The pandemic resulted in the loss of 730,000 jobs, or 9 percent, of all local public education jobs from February to May of 2020. While recovery has varied by state, as of June, at the national level there are now only 1.2 percent fewer individuals working in local public education than before the pandemic.   

The Department of Education also announced new awards totaling more than $27 million to support these efforts, including: 

  • $14.5 million in Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants. These awards are intended to improve the quality of prospective and new teachers by improving educator preparation programs and supports for new teachers.  
  • $12.7 million in Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) funds to support the implementation of evidence-based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of educators. These grants also will enable recipients to develop, expand, and evaluate practices that can serve as models to be sustained, replicated, and scaled and include career advancement opportunities for current teachers.  

Eighteen states have participated in a learning series led by the Department of Education that is supporting state education, educator preparation, and labor organization leaders in planning, designing, and implementing teacher Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers as a long-term strategy for strengthening and diversifying the teacher workforce. Registered Apprenticeships are a valuable tool in addressing the teacher shortage and the NGS released today will help expand the number of states with high-quality programs. These programs can be effective, high-quality “earn and learn” models that allow candidates to earn their teaching credentials through structured, paid on-the-job learning experiences with mentors, combined with coursework, and can be used to bring to the table additional resources to support the expansion of teacher residency and Grow-Your-Own programs. By reducing the cost of earning a license and offering flexible scheduling, these programs open the doors to the profession to those who may otherwise face barriers, including teachers of color and individuals such as paraprofessionals who may already have decades of experience in the classroom, but previously did not have an affordable pathway to become a teacher.   

Department of Labor Investments: 

The Department of Labor also announced the award of over $65 million in formula and competitive grants to 45 states and territories to develop and scale registered apprenticeship programs in education and other critical sectors. Thirty-five of the 45 states and territories that received formula funds under this program identified the education sector as one of their targeted sectors. DOL made competitive awards to Kansas, Utah, North Dakota, Washington, and New Hampshire to support the expansion of Registered Apprenticeship Programs for K-12 teachers, as well as other sectors prioritized by these grantees. 

Furthermore, the Department of Labor is announcing a new Registered Apprenticeship industry intermediary, RTI International, that will specifically focus on launching, promoting, and expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs in K-12 education. 

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