Harris County commissioners are voting Tuesday on a multi-million dollar apprenticeship program to help hundreds of workers land high-paying jobs.

The program will allow more than 1,000 people to train under apprenticeships and also get new skills that will qualify them for jobs in demand right now.

“It’s a proud day for Harris County. It’s a big deal, $31 million for jobs, for workers, and partnerships with some of the best organizations in our communities,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo and union representatives from a host of industries are calling the investment in the Harris County Apprenticeship Program the largest investment the county has ever made in the workforce and jobs.

The program will sponsor hundreds of people in apprenticeships that will lead to jobs in fields currently in demand.

“Under this proposal over the next two years, a lot of people are going to get opportunities that they would not have gotten,” County Commissioner Rodney Ellis said.

The apprenticeships are in construction, technology, transportation, and even live entertainment – areas where the workforce cannot currently meet the demand.

“We don’t have enough workers with the technical skills needed and there is a reason why we need to do more to become a plumber, an electrician, mechanical insulator, elevator constructor,” said Paul Puente of the Houston Gulf Coast Building Construction Trade Council.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act and will see more than 1,500 people become apprentices.

The program will also offer $13.6 million in advanced training opportunities.

“This is a program that already passed the Commissioners Court, and it focuses on the development of new and advanced skills to close gaps in training and provide certifications necessary for folks to pursue new careers,” Hidalgo said.

Applications for job seekers will be available in March.

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