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News Release
FOR RELEASE - February 20, 2020
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 684-5700

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (202) 792-4033

US Labor Dept. Names AAPA Steward of $5.89M Grant

Ports group among 28 U.S. entities to shepherd nearly $100M in apprenticeship training grants

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) … the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports … has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) as among 28 U.S. entities to administer nearly $100 million being awarded through the Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap grant program.

Grant awards ranged from $500,000 to $6 million – of which AAPA’s is for $5,888,738, to be used for the building and expansion of apprenticeship programs within the transportation and maritime industry. The grant places a heavy emphasis on private sector partnerships, with a corresponding 45 percent match of federal funds.

The focus of the grants is to expand sector-based apprenticeship programs for middle- to high-skill jobs to bring new entrants into the workforce and “upskill” current incumbents. This will be done by creating or building on existing apprenticeship programs in industries including advanced manufacturing, healthcare and information technology.

“We’re thrilled,” said AAPA President and CEO Chris Connor. “Ultimately, by serving as the grant administrator, it positions AAPA as a leading authority in the area of apprenticeship and workforce development. It will also help expand our reach and leadership within the broader maritime community regarding professional development and training.”

Mr. Connor noted that America’s ports, and the logistics industry service providers that move cargo and passengers to and from ports, are undergoing tremendous changes due to factors such as supply chain digitalization, artificial intelligence, automation, cybersecurity advances and other technology “disruptors.” These disruptors create workforce capability gaps that are best filled through apprenticeships.

“As part of our grant application,” he said, “we were able to assemble a national team of 10 employers, three institutions of higher education, three industry associations and one workforce intermediary. We’re confident the team we’ve assembled will enable AAPA to implement a proposed plan to register more than 5,000 apprentices nationwide, utilizing the nearly $6 million in USDOL funds requested through the proposal.”

As the national industry association charged with grant administration, AAPA will coordinate with its partner organizations, offer port-related courses that can be built into apprenticeship programs, build relationships with outside transportation organizations that are interested in offering apprenticeship programs, and to widely market its programs throughout its membership and within its stakeholder communities.

“This exciting opportunity came about because of the relationships we’ve built over the past several years with Barbara Murray and Katie Adams, who are nationally recognized workforce development and USDOL-certified apprenticeship experts,” said Mr. Connor.

About AAPA
Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 140 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 250 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. Cargo activities at U.S. seaports support nearly $31 million American jobs and account for 26 percent of the U.S. economy, generating nearly $5.4 trillion in total economic activity and more than $378 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2018. To meet the growing demand for trade, AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable. For more information, visit On Twitter:

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