Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI)
Bill will invest more than $3.5 billion to expand opportunities and access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships to boost workforce and economy
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), Co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, today voted in favor of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, legislation that reauthorizes the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937 for the first time since its enactment. The bill will invest more than $3.5 billion over five years to expand opportunities and access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships to boost the nation’s workforce and economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed the House by a vote of 246 to 140.
The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 is a significant investment to help Americans get back to work as millions of unemployed workers rely on unemployment benefits each week to stay afloat. The legislation supports the creation of nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the expected growth of the apprenticeship system. It also includes a Langevin led amendment that allows pre-apprenticeship programs to use grant funds to provide stipends for participants to cover out-of-pocket costs such as housing, transportation, and childcare. Pre-apprenticeship programs are usually unable to provide income support to participants during the program, which has been noted as a challenge for program completion.
“I’m proud to have voted for the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, which is critical to expanding important work-based learning experiences during the deep economic downturn we’re facing because of the pandemic,” said Langevin. “To build America back better and ensure an economic comeback, we have to have a workforce that is ready to get the job done. By expanding and strengthening the Registered Apprenticeship program, more workers can ‘earn while they learn,’ more businesses will have the talent they need, and our economy will be able to recover from these unprecedented headwinds. I’m also pleased that the final bill includes my amendment that allows pre-apprenticeship programs to provide stipends for participants.”
The Registered Apprenticeship system is America’s most successful federally authorized workforce development program. According to the Department of Labor, 94 percent of people who complete Registered Apprenticeships are employed upon completion, earning an average starting wage of above $70,000 annually. Unfortunately, only 0.3 percent of the overall U.S workforce has completed an apprenticeship.
The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020:
- Encourages employer participation and recruitment for individuals with barriers to employment, including individuals impacted by the criminal justice system.
- Codifies and streamlines standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, including requirements for apprenticeship agreements and program registration to ensure consistency in quality standards and worker protections.
- Codifies existing regulations and practices to ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to participate in programs under the national apprenticeship system, and to increase diversity in the occupations offered and the individuals participating in programs, especially in high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand industry sectors and occupations.
- Codifies the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship, including roles and responsibilities such as:
- Increasing participation in programs under the national apprenticeship system through technical assistance and program recognition activities.
- 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 to expand apprenticeships to new occupations and sectors.
- Improving the data infrastructure to improve reporting and publicly disseminating information about apprenticeship programs.
- Codifying the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships.
- Establishing the evaluation system for the national apprenticeship system to bring performance metrics in line with those of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
- Codifies the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) to include:
- Authorizing annual funding for State Apprenticeship Offices and SAAs at $75 million for fiscal year (FY) 2021, increasing by $10 million annually to reach $115 million for FY 2025, with one-third of funds equally distributed to all states and outlying areas, and two-thirds of funds distributed via formula to SAAs.
- Requiring SAAs 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.