The American Apprenticeship Act would provide funding to states for tuition assistance programs for pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs; Though evidence indicates that the apprenticeship model is a highly effective training model, it is not widely used by American workers or employers
The Act recognizes that for workers apprenticeships provide an opportunity to stay in the labor market, earn a living wage, and pursue widely recognized credentials, making apprenticeships one of the most-cost effective workforce development tools; For employers, apprenticeships provide a workforce trained to meet 21st century needs, reduce turnover, and improve safety outcomes, giving American businesses an edge in the global marketplace
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have introduced legislation to provide funding for tuition assistance programs for participants in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. For workers, apprenticeships provide an opportunity to stay in the labor market, earn a living wage, and pursue a nationally-recognized credential, making apprenticeships one of the most cost-effective workforce development tools. For employers, apprenticeships provide a workforce trained to meet 21st century needs, reduce turnover, and improve safety outcomes, giving American businesses an edge in the global marketplace. Though evidence indicates that the apprenticeship model is a highly effective training model, it is not widely used by American workers or employers. In order to expand and support registered apprenticeships, the American Apprenticeship Act would provide funding to states for the creation or expansion of tuition assistance programs that benefit participants in pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs.
“We have businesses that need workers and workers that need jobs, but oftentimes, their skills just aren’t matching up. In Minnesota, more than 70 percent of our manufacturers said it was difficult for them to find workers with the right skills and experience,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan bill would create and strengthen tuition programs for those who participate in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs to help more of our workers bridge that skills gap. By investing in the development of skills needed for 21st century jobs, our legislation will make American businesses and workers more competitive in the global economy.”
“Many Maine business owners have told me that they have jobs available but have difficulty finding qualified and trained workers to fill these vacant positions. Apprenticeships help address this issue by aligning employees’ skills with employers’ needs and preparing individuals for a successful future in their chosen field,” Senator Collins said. “Our legislation will improve the accessibility and affordability of apprenticeships, allowing more Americans to take advantage of these programs to gain in-demand skills and obtain well-paying jobs.”
Last month, Klobuchar’s staff held public events across Northern Minnesota as part of her “Minnesota Workforce Tour” to discuss local initiatives helping bridge the skills gap and highlight Klobuchar-backed legislative actions to strengthen Minnesota’s workforce.
This legislation has been endorsed by the Center for American Progress and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).
“The American Apprenticeship Act will encourage state investment in apprenticeships, help expand access to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs—particularly for individuals facing barriers to employment—and will promote strategic planning at the state and federal levels to expand apprenticeships to a variety of industries and occupations. Research shows that the average starting salary for a worker who completes an apprenticeship is $50,000. Apprenticeships offer a pathway to good middle-class jobs and economic security.” - Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund
The American Apprenticeship Act would:
- Authorize the Department of Labor to award competitive grants to states that have developed effective strategies to diversify, market, and scale Registered Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
- Authorize states to utilize grant funds to assist participants in pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs in obtaining industry-relevant classroom instruction.
- Require the Department of Labor to analyze the use of apprenticeships for in-demand occupations.
- Recognize that states play a pivotal role in elevating and expanding Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships as workforce solutions.
Klobuchar has long supported efforts to help workers succeed in an increasingly specialized workforce while making the country’s economy more competitive. Klobuchar helped pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in June 2014, which included her bipartisan provision to help match the skills of workers with the needs of local employers. The provision established competitive grants for partnerships that help provide workers with the skills needed to fill vacancies in up-and-coming industries. She also led bipartisan legislation with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), the Innovate America Act, which would fund 100 new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-focused high schools and help ensure workers have the skills they need for today’s competitive global economy.