BATON ROUGE – Employers looking for a proven and effective way to train highly skilled and productive workers have a valuable resource in the Louisiana Registered Apprenticeship Program. Registered Apprenticeship, which is now in its 70th year in Louisiana, is an industry-driven training model that allows workers to combine on-the-job learning with classroom instruction.
And beginning this tax year, Louisiana businesses sponsoring a Registered Apprenticeship program can claim credits for all eligible apprentices they employ. The credit is equal to $1 per hour worked, up to a maximum of $1,000 per apprentice per year. There is no limit on the number of apprentices a business can claim for the credit. The credit will be in effect until January 1, 2011 and applies to both newly hired and incumbent apprentices.
“Workforce development is a top priority right now for Louisiana,” said State Director of Apprenticeship Heather Stefan. “To steer our state in the economic direction we want to go, we need to find ways to increase the skill levels of our workforce that are aligned with the needs of business and industry – registered apprenticeship is a key method for managing that alignment process.”
Employers must establish and adhere to rigorous standards for specific occupations to register an apprenticeship program with the Louisiana Department of Labor. Businesses are held accountable for maintaining those standards to ensure continued quality of their program. Registered Apprenticeship is a nationally and globally recognized workforce development tool, and the completion certificates that apprentices receive are highly respected and recognized across the country.
“Registered Apprenticeship is one of the premier methods of training in this country, but is greatly underutilized in Louisiana,” Stefan said. “It is a win-win for workers and businesses alike; workers can earn a good living with a progressively increasing wage scale as they learn, and employers develop a stronger, more stable workforce that will greatly benefit their sustainability and give them an advantage over competitors.”
In addition to training in construction and manufacturing, Registered Apprenticeship can also offer options for training workers in high-growth industries. Among these are health care, hospitality, service industries, IT and advanced manufacturing. Participation in a Registered Apprenticeship program offers businesses reduced turnover rates, lower investment in recruiting and higher productivity. Also, a well-managed program will produce a steady stream of highly skilled journey workers who will be trained to the employers’ specifications and ready to fill the void left behind by retirees.
For more information on the Louisiana Registered Apprenticeship Program, call State Director of Apprenticeship Heather Stefan at 225-342-7820 or visit www.laworks.net.
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