The American Apprenticeship Act would provide funding to states for tuition assistance programs for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced legislation to provide funding for tuition assistance programs for participants in pre-apprenticeship and 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. 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 apprenticeship programs.

“Today, there isn’t just one path to success—there are many ways to access the skills and education necessary to get a high-paying and rewarding job. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with relevant academic instruction to create a win-win situation for workers and employers,” 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 the skills gap into 21st century careers.”

“Business owners throughout Maine 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,” Collins said. “This bipartisan bill would increase accessibility and affordability of apprenticeships, allowing more Americans to take advantage of these programs to gain in-demand skills and obtain good-paying jobs.”

“Apprenticeships are a key component to putting low income people on a career pathway. CLASP is grateful to Senators Klobuchar and Collins for the American Apprenticeship Act, which acknowledges the challenges many find in accessing meaningful employment. We are particularly encouraged by the inclusion of pre-apprenticeship programs – an important bridge to economic success that brings more women and people of color into the workforce,” said Alexandra Costello, Director of Legislative Affairs at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

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 pre-apprenticeship and Registered 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 pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships as workforce solutions.