Collins, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Support and Expand Apprenticeship Programs

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

Washington, D.C.  – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the American Apprenticeship Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide tuition assistance for participants in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a companion bill.

 

“In addition to the difficulties small business owners have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have also told me that they often experience difficulty finding qualified and trained workers to fill vacant positions,” said Senator Collins. “Apprenticeships help address this issue by aligning employees’ skills with employers’ needs and preparing individuals for a successful future in their chosen field. With many people looking for work during the ongoing public health and economic crisis, this bipartisan bill would help expand access and lower the cost of apprenticeships, allowing more Americans to take advantage of these programs to gain in-demand skills and obtain good-paying jobs.”

 

“Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with relevant academic instruction, making for a win-win situation for workers and employers,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan bill would create and strengthen tuition programs for those who participate in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs to help workers bridge the skills gap into 21st century careers and find fulfilling work during and following the pandemic.”

 

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.

 

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 Registered Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in obtaining industry-relevant classroom instruction;

 

·         Require the Department of Labor to analyze the use of apprenticeships for in-demand occupations; and

 

·         Recognize that states play a pivotal role in elevating and expanding Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships as workforce solutions.

 

###