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National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

Floor Speech

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

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Mrs. HAYES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020.

My State of Connecticut was still recovering from the 2008 recession, and now COVID-19 has again thrown it into dire economic straits.

With businesses shuttered from prolonged economic pause, nearly 200,000 Connecticut residents are now forced into unemployment. If we say we agree on this, then now is the time to create pathways to high- wage employment with long-term prospects. While a 4-year degree is a great opportunity for many, it cannot be the only option.

I include in the Record a letter in support of the National Apprenticeship Act from the National Education Association. National Education Association, Washington, DC, November 18, 2020. House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Representative: On behalf of our 3 million members, who prepare students across America to pursue fulfilling careers that support their families and communities, we urge you to vote YES on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 (H.R. 8294). Votes on this issue may be included in the NEA Report Card for the 116th Congress.

Apprenticeship programs are a key part of the education landscape, yet the National Apprenticeship Act has not been significantly updated in the nearly 80 years since it was signed into law. H.R. 8294 recognizes that programs offering on-the-job training and mentoring pave the way to successful careers, and helps bring these programs into the 21st century. The legislation is particularly timely given rising joblessness and financial insecurity stemming from the COVID- 19 pandemic.

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 would:

Create the Office of Apprenticeship in the U.S. Department of Labor, with responsibilities including supporting development of apprenticeship models, providing technical assistance to state agencies, updating requirements for each occupation in the program, and determining whether to approve new occupations for the program;

Codify provisions implemented over the years regarding registered apprenticeship programs and expand the programs to new industries;

Amend the existing law to include pre-apprenticeships and youth apprenticeships; and

Authorize annual grants ranging from $400 million to $800 million to expand apprenticeship programs and encourage employer participation in them.

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 recognizes the value of apprenticeships in supporting the dreams and ambitions of students of all ages and preparing them for high-wage careers. We urge you to vote YES on H.R. 8294. Sincerely, Marc Egan, Director of Government Relations, National Education Association.

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Mrs. HAYES. Mr. Speaker, the National Apprenticeship Act ensures that today's workforce can fill the jobs of tomorrow by creating 1 million apprenticeship opportunities over the next 5 years.

With an average starting salary, after completion, of around $70,000, registered apprenticeships create the opportunity to attain critical training while earning an income and incurring little to no student debt. Apprenticeships also ensure businesses can fill key vacancies with credentialed, skilled employees--in short, putting people back to work.

The National Apprenticeship Act will invest in Connecticut workers and our country's workers and businesses at a time when we need it most. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation.

Ms. FOXX of North Carolina.

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