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Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill Expands Registered Apprenticeship Programs in High-Growth Job Sectors

This bill establishes a new initiative to grow and expand highly successful intermediaries.

April 17, 2020

At a Glance

This bill establishes a new initiative to grow and expand highly successful intermediaries.

JFF is pleased to endorse the Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act alongside the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Delaware Polytech Adult Education, National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), New America, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), Small Business Majority, and Third Way.

Eric Seleznow, senior advisor at JFF, said:

“JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based learning applauds this bi-partisan effort to encourage and support the growth of apprenticeship intermediaries.

These intermediaries play a critical role in organizing and expanding high quality apprenticeship programs that help workers obtain the skills to succeed and help businesses grow and compete in the global economy. Over the last several years, there has been an emergence of new intermediaries including community colleges, workforce boards, private firms, community-based organizations, and industry associations, among others, that make it easier and more efficient for employers to develop and register high quality apprenticeship programs. This bill will support these on-going efforts to expand the proven practice of apprenticeships.”

For more on intermediaries, see JFF’s webinar on the role of apprenticeship intermediaries.

Press Release:

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and David B. McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.) introduced the Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act of 2019. 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. The bill addresses the growing skills gap in America and helps businesses provide targeted training to compete in the 21st century economy.

“Apprenticeships are one of the smartest investments we can make 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 well-paying job when this training is complete. 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. This legislation supports important initiatives like the Delaware Pathways program, which helps ensure a strong American workforce into the future.”

“With a constantly changing workforce, it is paramount that our students have the training and skills needed to succeed,” said Senator Young. “As a co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, I have seen first-hand the important role that apprenticeships and CTE programs can play in closing America’s skills gap. The bipartisan Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act will help ensure Hoosiers and all Americans are prepared for the opportunities of tomorrow.”

“America’s workers are our greatest resource and by investing in apprenticeship programs we can help make sure they have the tools they need to succeed,” said Senator Brown.

“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.”

“We currently face a shortage of skilled workers, and that skills gap is causing high-paying jobs to go unfilled. By increasing access to apprenticeships we will be able to fill these vacancies,”Rep. McKinley said. “We must promote job training programs, and apprenticeships the same way we promote traditional four-year colleges because, without these trades, our economy cannot grow.”

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 convenes 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.