WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the Apprenticeships to College Act to allow workers to earn college credit for completed apprenticeships. This legislation is introduced as emerging technologies and disruptive forces – including artificial intelligence, the gig economy, and automation – have created what experts call the “skills gap” in which employers often struggle to hire appropriately trained workers.
The Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium (RACC) is an existing partnership between the Department of Labor and Department of Education that helps facilitate cooperation between apprenticeship programs and colleges. The Apprenticeships to College Act would formally codify the RACC and make improvements to the program to generate new agreements with two- and four-year colleges, ensure support services are available to apprentices, and expand collaboration between colleges and apprenticeships programs to measure the success of the RACC. Led by Representative Josh Harder (D-CA), this bill was passed by the House earlier this Congress as part of the National Apprenticeship Act.
“Apprentices receive on-the-job training and relevant academic instruction – valuable experience that deserves to be recognized through college credit,” said Klobuchar. “As millions of American workers seek to re-enter the workforce following the pandemic, our bipartisan legislation will help people who have completed apprenticeships with access to educational opportunities and help position them for success.”
“Apprenticeships offer hands-on learning and serve as effective talent pipelines for our workforce,” said Moran. “Providing college credit for qualifying apprenticeships affords students the opportunity to learn valuable job skills while also setting them up for success in postsecondary education.”
Klobuchar has long supported efforts to help workers succeed in an increasingly specialized workforce while making the country’s economy more competitive.
In March, she partnered with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to reintroduce the bipartisan American Apprenticeship Act, which would help create and expand pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs. In February, she and Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) reintroduced the Skills Investment Act and Skills Renewal Act to help Americans save for and access skills training, apprenticeships, and professional development programs. The Skills Investment Act would expand Coverdell Education Savings Accounts—tax advantaged savings accounts for educational expenses—so American workers can use the accounts to pay for skills training, apprenticeships, and professional development. The Skills Renewal Act, introduced alongside Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC), would create a flexible skills training credit in the amount of $4,000 per person for workers who have lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic to cover the cost of skills training programs for high-demand capabilities.
Klobuchar also introduced the WORK NOW Act earlier this year with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to help nonprofit organizations retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and provide unemployed Americans with new jobs serving their communities.
# # #