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National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

Floor Speech

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

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Mr. MEUSER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the incredible gentlewoman from North Carolina for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, in the last 10 years, the number of Americans entering apprenticeship programs has more than doubled--a success. The demand among employers and workers in a variety of industries is an endorsement of the apprenticeship model's promise to close the skills gap and provide opportunities to millions of Americans--a great thing.

The legislation we are considering today, however, would shut down efforts to expand apprenticeships and make the existing 80-year-old registered apprenticeship program and system the only option.

Talking to job creators in my district, which I do extensively, I have heard firsthand the needs for talented, new workers and their challenges with the cumbersome apprenticeship system that limits employer-led innovation for union and nonunion employment.

The registered apprenticeship system is not the gold standard; it is the old standard. American workers and employers need a system as innovative and dynamic as our current American economy.

Republicans offered an all-of-the-above approach that improves the registered apprenticeship system and promotes flexibilities to strengthen our workforce, particularly in manufacturing and construction, and would allow the apprenticeship model to be applied across all new industries such as tech, healthcare, logistics, and energy--particularly, Mr. Speaker, as we strive to fortify U.S. manufacturers and rebuild our infrastructure and repatriatize manufacturers from around the world, including China.

We should not insist on ratio standards, but we should set very high gold standards. So we should focus on baking pies, not cutting them up.

The economy workforce has evolved over the past 80 years. Our laws should, too. I urge a ``no'' vote on this bill.

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