June 13, 2018

Young Leads Bill to Expand Registered Apprenticeship Programs in High-Growth Job Sectors

U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), and U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) today introduced the Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act. This bill establishes a new initiative to grow and expand highly successful Apprenticeship Hubs, which are organizations that help employers design, develop, and deliver registered apprenticeship programs to provide targeted training to displaced workers looking to pursue new careers and to help high school students find employment immediately upon graduation. 

 “To ensure our workforce is prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, we have to begin addressing the skills gap now,” said Senator Young. “As a member of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, I have witnessed the benefits of apprenticeships and their role in addressing key gaps in the workforce and providing opportunities for our students. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will help equip students and workers with the skills needed to fill jobs in some of the fastest growing sectors.” 

“Apprenticeships are what many call ‘the other four-year degree’ because they lead to well-paying jobs, a clear career path, little to no debt, and skills that can be used for a lifetime,” said Senator Coons. “Apprentices earn wages during their training and in many cases are guaranteed a job with a solid middle-class starting salary. Our bill will help expand registered apprenticeships to a variety of job sectors to create more opportunities for America’s displaced workers and youth to address the growing skills gap in America. I’m proud to support important initiatives like the Delaware Pathways program with this legislation. Apprenticeships are an important investment for a strong American workforce and this bill helps secure that future.”

“An apprenticeship program shaped my life – taking me from construction work to Congress,” said Representative Norcross, an electrician by trade. “My electrical apprenticeship training allowed me to learn-and-earn and set me on a path toward a fulfilling, family-sustaining career. America needs a well-trained workforce to help fill the jobs of the future, and apprenticeships are critical to our success. We need electricians and computer programmers, just like we need doctors and judges – and this bill expands high-quality career training programs.”

“America has more job openings than the number of people to fill them, but employers are having a hard time recruiting qualified candidates because of the skills gap. Apprenticeships are a proven method to train individuals to fill these positions and enter the modern workforce,” said Representative McKinley. “This bill would increase access to apprenticeships for more Americans, giving them a better shot at landing one of these vacant jobs.”

A major barrier to expanding registered apprenticeships in high growth job sectors outside of the skilled trades is employers’ lack of familiarity with the process to set up and manage registered apprenticeship programs. The Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act addresses this need by supporting a national network of Apprenticeship Hubs that convene multiple stakeholders, including local workforce boards, community colleges, and employers, to help support the expansion of the extremely successful registered apprenticeship model. Apprenticeship Hubs participate in a variety of activities, such as providing guidance and mentorship of apprentices to ensure retention and completion; working with employers to design the apprenticeship curriculum; and navigating the registration process for apprenticeships. The bill also instructs the Department of Labor to conduct national workshops on how to create Apprenticeship Hubs and disseminate best practices on the effective development and implementation of registered apprenticeship programs.

The bill text is available here.

A one-pager on the bill is available here.

List of supporting organizations:

·         American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

·         Delaware Polytech Adult Education

·         North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU)

·         Jobs for the Future

·         Third Way

·         International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)

·         New America

·         National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE)