The U.S. Departments of Education and Labor announced in a July 31 news release 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 address educator shortages. The new efforts include:

  • New national guidelines for apprenticeship standards 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.
  • 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.

National Guidelines for K-12 Teacher Registered Apprenticeships

The newly released national guidelines for apprenticeship standards 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.

U.S. Department of Education Investments

The U.S. 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 to support the effective recruitment, preparation, and retention of teachers. The pandemic resulted in the loss of 730,000 jobs, or 9% 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% 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 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 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.

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.

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.

Learn more in the full news release.