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National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 19, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 8294, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, and thank the gentleman for his enormous leadership, as well as Chairwoman Susan Davis.

This legislation takes real meaningful steps to increase access to registered apprenticeships, one of the most successful workforce development programs we have ever had in our country, where 94 percent of people who complete them actually earn an average salary of over $70,000 a year.

As Representative of the cities of Toledo, Lorain, and Cleveland, all of which boast a strong industrial and automotive heritage, it is difficult to overemphasize the value that these apprenticeships have for young people and adults starting careers in the industrial and automotive trades.

Whether it is the expertise it takes to rebuild an engine or build it to begin with, replace a battery in a hybrid vehicle or TIG weld the rear quarter of an old Wagoneer, there will always be a market for skilled craftspeople who can repair or restore modern and classic vehicles. It is these curious minds and hands that are America's inventors of the future for new power systems and new engines.

This legislation is estimated to create over 1 million apprenticeship opportunities over the next 5 years and will strengthen our workforce, ensuring businesses large and small can recruit the skilled workers they need.

I include in the Record a letter from the National Task Force on Tradeswomen's Issues that supports this legislation. National Task Force on Tradeswomen's Issues, November 18, 2020. Re H.R. 8294 Letter of Support, NAA Reauthorization. To: Committee on Education and Labor Chairperson Robert C. ``Bobby'' Scott Attention: Katherine McClelland.

The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen's Issues (TWTF) is a coalition of tradeswomen organizations, advocates, allies and individual tradeswomen. TWTF promotes public policies and best practices towards equity in apprenticeship, training, workforce development, career and technical education, and in workplace experience in construction and other nontraditional occupations for women. Women make up close to 50% of the nation's workforce. Women occupy 2/3's of the minimum wage jobs in this country. Yet, women comprise only 7% of our nation's apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship is a critical component of our efforts to increase economic opportunity for women, particularly women of color, in blue- collar occupations.

TWTF very much appreciates the interest of the House of Representatives Education & Labor Committee and its Higher Education & Workforce Investment Subcommittee in reauthorizing the National Apprenticeship Act in a way that best protects apprentices and enhances their opportunities for meaningful, well-compensated careers. TWTF is grateful for the careful attention that the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, H.R. 8294, pays to ensuring that women and people of color--populations that have historically been too often unfairly denied opportunities because of their gender, race, or ethnicity--can gain access to and retain high-skill, high-wage jobs through registered apprenticeships, pre- apprenticeships, and youth apprenticeships. Finally, we are very appreciative of the open and consultative process that you and your staff have engaged in to get public input as you developed this bill, including allowing us to submit detailed comments on a publicly available discussion draft, and your staff's willingness to respond to questions and concerns on an on-going basis. H.R. 8294 could well be a key piece to remedy the enduring skills and pay gap as we move beyond the ``She-cession.''

TWTF is pleased to support H.R. 8294. In particular, we support the bill's incorporation of nondiscrimination and affirmative action standards for apprenticeship programs currently codified in 29 CFR part 30; the requirement that funded entities devote a minimum of 5 percent of grant funds to direct financial assistance to apprentices, pre- apprentices, or youth apprentices for supportive services; and the significant investments that the bill makes in registered apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and youth apprenticeship programs and technical assistance to make progress on equity and inclusion for women and people of color. We look forward to continuing to work with your staff to accommodate remaining concerns as the legislation moves forward in the next Congress. Respectfully, Connie Ashbrook, Leah Rambo, TWTF Co-Chairs.

Ms. FOXX of North Carolina.

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