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HCR 6001 Considers Study of Apprenticeships, Made Possible by Federal Funding

Among the eight proposals approved by the Interim Study Committee on Juvenile Justice is House Concurrent Resolution 6001, a measure calling for a task force to “explore new alternatives to keep individuals 16 years or older engaged in learning opportunities that lead to high school completion.” The Whereas clauses of HCR 6001 indicate that the committee believes the main alternative should be work-related classes:

…WHEREAS, South Dakota is experiencing a historic low unemployment rate with worker shortages in many sectors; and

WHEREAS, many jobs require certificates, licenses, and prior experience in order to work in the field; and

WHEREAS, the South Dakota Department of Labor reports a 94% retention rate for individuals enrolled in registered apprenticeship programs available to those 16 to 18 years of age; and

WHEREAS, the South Dakota Department of Education reports success with career and technical education as a means to broaden the application of traditional K-12 learning; and

WHEREAS, many trade associations are willing partners in programs to expand their employment base… [House Concurrent Resolution 6001, filed 2023.01.03].

Making sure every young person stays in school and gets a diploma is a good idea. Various institutions give adults college credit for their work experience; perhaps there is merit in giving high school students who might not otherwise plow through the regular curriculum credit toward graduation for meaningful, well-structured and well-supervised work experience.

South Dakota and every other state is able to offer funding for apprenticeships thanks to Democrats and the federal government. The South Dakota Department of Labor’s StartTodaySD Apprenticeship Program is part of the federal Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship system, a product of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The Obama Administration started giving special attention to apprenticeship in 2015 by launching National Apprenticeship Week. (President Biden’s Department of Labor held events for the eighth National Apprenticeship Week last November.) The feds are supporting South Dakota’s apprenticeship program with a $3.1-million grant, which apparently translates into “Registered Apprenticeship Training Investment” payments of $1,000 to businesses that take on apprentices, meet the program requirements, and retain those apprentices on the job for at least 90 days. Governor Noem wants to use an additional $303,558 federal grant to hire four more people to manage South Dakota’s apprenticeship program.

StartTodaySD currently lists 126 available registered apprenticeships in South Dakota, including one where young people can learn “operations management” at Senator Al Novstrup’s son David’s Allevity funhouse. Hmm… is that the kind of critical workforce that is worth both federal subsidy and high school credit?


  1. Donald Pay 2023-01-10 09:04

    Yeah, great. I like apprenticeship programs as long as they lead to long-term employment. This Biden program could be good, but that 90-day job requirement is just ridiculously short. I used to put some young workers into similar programs funded by the Wisconsin state government during the Walker Administration. In many cases it was just a way for a company to get a subsidized worker who got little training. Usually it did not lead to a long-term job. As soon as the 90 days were up, the worker was laid off, a new apprentice was added.

    Many unions run pretty good apprenticeship programs. They tend to be a little too structured, and don’t move people along fast enough, but they are thorough. The people who go through them learn how to do the job, and generally do well.

  2. Mark Anderson 2023-01-10 10:17

    The detail devil is all over this one. The structure is bad. The goal is great.

  3. P. Aitch 2023-01-10 14:56

    This HCR rates a 3 out of 10 for small thinking.
    U.S. states are competing to attract top graduate talent to fuel innovation and cement their science and tech leadership.
    – Policymakers will have to figure out which tools help to recruit and retain graduate talent.
    – The 21st century is about a knowledge-based economy and brain power truly matters a lot.
    – Where does your state stand on the issue of talent attraction? Hmmmm??

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