House Passes Harder's Bill to Provide College Credit for Apprenticeships
Today, The House of Representatives passed the Apprenticeships to College Act, legislation introduced by Representative Josh Harder (CA-10), as part of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. Rep. Harder's bill would expand a program allowing skilled workers to earn college credit for apprenticeships they've already completed. In California, most apprenticeships last one to five years, meaning although skilled professionals have already spent a substantial amount of time studying for their career, many are not eligible for college credit.
"Our world is changing incredibly quickly -- and people are looking for new ways to gain new skills and credentials," said Rep. Harder. "If you're a skilled worker and you want to get a degree and start your own business, all of the real-world experience you got during your apprenticeship should count for college credit. My bill would make sure that it does."
An existing partnership between the Department of Labor and Department of Education helps facilitate cooperation between apprenticeship programs, colleges, and employers to ensure apprenticeship programs count towards college credit. However, the program's reach is limited, and it is not established in federal law.
The Apprenticeships to College Act would formally authorize the program and make a number of important improvements, including:
Creating more agreements with two-and four-year colleges to give college credit for apprenticeships. Making services available to facilitate the program.
Expanding collaboration between colleges, apprenticeship programs, and businesses to measure the success of the program.
Representative Harder is a leader in efforts to support skills education. Last year, he worked alongside local educators, students, and parents to develop a trades and career education package which would correct the historic underinvestment in skills education. Rep. Harder worked to include provisions similar to these bills in legislation passed in the House Education and Labor Committee. That legislation also included Rep. Harder-supported provisions that would incentivize careers in farming, make college more transparent, and lower the cost of textbooks.