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As Nation Faces Record Unemployment, Committee Democrats Unveil Legislation to Expand Apprenticeships, Invest in Workforce Training

09.17.20

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 will add nearly one million apprenticeship opportunities over five years.

The Committee will hold a markup of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 on Thursday, September 24.

WASHINGTON – Today, Committee on Education and Labor Democrats unveiled a proposal 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 2020introduced by Chair Susan Davis (CA-53), Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment (HEWI),  and Chair Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Education and Labor Committee, 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. 

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 will build on the success of apprenticeship programs by increasing our investment in American workers and creating more opportunities for them to get critical skills that lead to high-paying careers,” said Chair Davis, Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment. “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.” 

“As our nation endures the deepest economic decline since the Great Depression, Congress has a responsibility to help Americans get back to work. The reauthorization of the National Apprenticeship Act is vital step toward accelerating the economic recovery for both workers and businesses,” said Chair Scott. “Registered Apprenticeships remain one of our most successful tools for connecting workers with in-demand skills and good-paying jobs. The investments in this bill will create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities while enhancing youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that will prepare a new generation of workers for the modern economy. I am grateful to Rep. Davis for her leadership on this bill and her tireless efforts on behalf of workers and local businesses over the past two decades.” 

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.
    • Encourage employer participation and recruitment for individuals with barriers to employment, including individuals impacted by the criminal and juvenile justice system.
    • Support national industry and equity intermediaries, and intermediaries at the regional or local level
    • 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.  

To read the bill text for the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, click here.  

To read the fact sheet for the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, click here.  

To read the section-by-section for the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, click here

Original Sponsors of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020: Reps. Susan Davis (CA-53), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Andy Levin (MI-09), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Susan Wild (PA-07), Gregorio Sablan (MP-At large), Marica Fudge (OH-11), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), and Lori Trahan (MA-03). 

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