The U.S. Department of Labor Awards $5M to Riverside Community College District

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Oct 20, 2022



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The U.S. Department of Labor gave Riverside Community College District (RCCD) almost $5 million to assist the region’s LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network. The Inland Empire Registered Apprenticeship Hub will provide access to registered apprenticeship programs throughout the area.

Key Takeaways

  • Nine organizations received $50 million from the Department of Labor, three of which were community college districts. 
  • With the $4,697,637 grant from RCCD for LAUNCH, 20 new apprenticeship programs are anticipated to be registered with the Department of Labor to serve the people of the Inland Empire. 
  • Additionally, current programs will be expanded, and pre-apprenticeship programs will develop. 

U.S. Department of Labor Awarded Funds to Several Organizations

Through this project, RCCD will also work with LAUNCH and other educational partners to serve underrepresented populations in the apprenticeship system. 

It aims to invest in vital management and personnel for registered apprenticeships and collaborate and work with employers and industries that use them.

RCCD Chancellor Wolde-Ab Isaac, Ph.D., noted, “Our team has invested significant energy in better understanding how access and equity or lack thereof impacts opportunities for living-wage career paths supported by apprenticeship in inland Southern California.”

California and the federal government have invested money in developing new apprenticeship programs over the past ten years. Still, it has proven challenging to establish large-scale, sustainable apprenticeship programs in industries other than the building and construction trades.

“Apprenticeship is the easiest thing to sell, but the hardest thing to buy,” Henkels said.

“Once prospective participants get past the initial excitement, there is rarely the next step for them that is ready and apparent,” Henkels said. “Students are informed about apprenticeships but then just as quickly told the program they are interested in is full and they will be put on a waiting list, or there are no programs in the professional pathway they are interested in. Businesses agree to provide paid on-the-training experiences, but then are handed complicated, or less relevant, labor codes regarding occupation codes, journeyman ratios, selection procedures, rules and regulations, and committee guidelines. All this leads to frustration, and eventually, participants walk away.” 

What is LAUNCH by RCCD?

RCCD launched the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network in 2018 with money provided by the community colleges in the Inland Empire Desert Regional Consortia (IEDRC). 

By utilizing the education and workforce resources of 12 community institutions, 56 K–12 districts, two workforce development boards, and two county offices of education, the IEDRC provides services to almost 4.6 million persons.

LAUNCH aims to establish a navigable apprenticeship system for businesses, students, and career-seekers. As a result of this step, industry and academia will access accredited, portable, and recognized paid work-based learning opportunities and resolve these bottlenecks. 

An Initiative to Help BIPOC and Women

The Division of Apprenticeship Standards reported that in 2019, before the pandemic, the entire state of California registered 13 apprentices under the age of 20. This included three black adults, two women, and one resident within RCCD boundaries.

This initiative will deal with these difficulties and barriers and pave the way for women, people of color, and young adults to participate in an apprenticeship. 

The Registered Apprenticeship Hub of the RCCD will also broaden intermediary program sponsorship services in new industrial sectors. These sectors may include emerging technologies and logistics, as well as the public sector and other non-traditional areas. 

RCDD will also give employers the help they need to offer apprenticeship opportunities. This initiative will build upon the long history of collaboration between RCCD and the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network to advance apprenticeship development in the Inland Empire. 

Wrap Up!

$5 million was provided by RCCD to support the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network in the area. The Department of Labor will likely register 20 new apprenticeship programs to benefit the Inland Empire’s residents. 

LAUNCH was created to make the apprenticeship system accessible to employers, students, and job seekers. By using funding from the community colleges in the Inland Empire Desert Regional Consortia, RCCD developed the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network in 2018. (IEDRC).


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