House Committee Passes Rep. Susan Davis’s Legislation to Expand Apprenticeships, Invest in Workforce Training

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Washington, September 24, 2020 | comments

The House Education and Labor Committee passed Congresswoman Susan Davis’s (CA-53) legislation to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act that would create nearly one million new Registered Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship positions over the next five years. The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, invests nearly $3.5 billion over five years to scale-up apprenticeship opportunities, streamline access to apprenticeships for workers and employers, and expand apprenticeships into new in-demand industry sectors and occupations.

“At a time when so many workers have been forced to look for new pathways to financial stability, we have a responsibility as members of Congress to do everything we can to expand employment opportunities that provide meaningful work and family-supporting wages,” said Rep. Davis, Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee. “The legislation approved by the committee today will do just that. We know the Registered Apprenticeship system is very successful, but it is just not reaching enough people looking for high-quality career pathways. By streamlining standards, accountability, and coordinating programs with high school and higher education institutions along with a greater investment to increase access, it will benefit more workers, the taxpayers, and our economy.”

According to the Department of Labor, 94 percent of apprentices who complete Registered Apprenticeships are employed upon completion, earning an average starting wage of above $70,000 annually. Yet, according to the most recent data, only 0.3 percent of the overall workforce in America have completed an apprenticeship.

The proposal’s historic investments in workforce training would not only benefit workers and their families, but would save American taxpayers an estimated $10.6 billion in the form of increased tax revenues from higher worker pay and productivity and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020:

  • Authorizes a grant program to:

    • Support the creation or expansion of registered pre-apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and apprenticeship programs, including in non-traditional apprenticeship occupations and for nontraditional populations.

    • Create new programs in nontraditional apprenticeship industries, like health care and child care – essential industries during our current crisis.

    • Encourage employer participation, including small- and medium-sized employers, in the national apprenticeship system and hire nontraditional apprenticeship populations, like women, minorities, veterans, military spouses, and individuals impacted by the criminal or juvenile justice system, including those currently or formerly incarcerated;

    • Encourage employer participation and recruitment for individuals with barriers to employment, including individuals impacted by the criminal and juvenile justice system.

    • Supporting national intermediaries in important industries like information technology and cyber security, health care, manufacturing, and insurance, and equity intermediaries to create a more diverse apprenticeship workforce, as well as regional and local intermediaries.

    • Establish or expand educational alignment with programs under the national apprenticeship system

  • Codifies and streamlines standards for registered youth apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, including requirements for apprenticeship agreements and program registration.

  • Codifies the Office of Apprenticeship, including roles and responsibilities such as:

    • Increasing promotion and awareness of programs under the expanded national apprenticeship system, including through technical assistance, program recognition activities, and increasing diversity in apprenticeable occupations and participants.

    • Bringing together industry sector leaders and experts, including employers, industry associations, joint labor-management organizations, labor organizations, education and training providers, credential providers, and apprentices to establish national frameworks for industry-recognized apprenticeable occupations.

    • Improving the data infrastructure to improve reporting and publicly disseminating information about apprenticeship programs.

  • Establishes the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships.

  • Codifies the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) to include:

    • Authorizing annual funding for State Apprenticeship Offices (run by the DOL) and State Apprenticeship Agencies (run by states), and

    • Requiring SAA to submit plans for registered apprenticeship activities, which generally mirror existing state requirements under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

  • Strengthens the connections between the Department of Education and Department of Labor through an interagency agreement to support the creation and expansion of youth apprenticeships, college consortiums, and data sharing agreements.

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