AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature approved funding earlier this week for a measure sponsored by Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, that bolsters the Maine Apprenticeship Program and supports pre-apprenticeship initiatives throughout the state.
LD 177, which was approved by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and enacted by the full Legislature, appropriates $200,000 to reimburse training programs within the Maine Apprenticeship Program and provides an additional $200,000 for pre-apprenticeship programs.
“Apprenticeship is a time-honored tradition that combines class instruction with real-world work experience and is at the core of many industries here in Maine,” said Cuddy. “Funding these programs means that more kids will have access to good career paths, enabling them to live, work and raise their families in Maine. Making this investment demonstrates not only a commitment to our kids, but also to the future of our state.”
Since its creation in 1941, the Maine Apprenticeship Program has seen significant growth. From 2009 to 2019, the number of apprentices who accessed the program nearly tripled, with 2,813 individuals served in 2019, per a news release.
The funding allocation in LD 177 allows the state to keep pace with increased interest in these programs and ensures that apprenticeship sponsors are not left footing the bill for classroom training, according to the release.
Maine law allows the Department of Labor to reimburse businesses who sponsor apprentices, enabling them to access the experience and mentorship that is so unique to this model of education, for up to 50% of the cost of classroom training.
In recent years, the reimbursement rate rose to $1,200 per apprentice, per year.
Based on increases in the number of sponsors requesting reimbursement and available funding, reimbursements were reduced in 2019 to up to $500 per apprentice.
The bill is now on the governor’s desk.
Cuddy, a member of the Labor and Housing Committee and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, is serving his second term in the Maine House. He represents the communities of Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and Winterport.