U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to apprenticeships. The American Apprenticeship Act would provide states with tuition assistance funding to support apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
"Apprenticeships help people receive valuable on-the-job training and get the skills they need to work in high-demand fields," said Klobuchar. "By providing additional tuition assistance resources for apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, our bipartisan legislation will enable more people to access and benefit from these valuable programs."
"Small business owners have told me that one of the biggest challenges they face is finding qualified and trained workers to fill vacant positions," said Collins. "Apprenticeships help address this issue by aligning employees' skills with employers' needs and preparing individuals for a successful future in their chosen field. During the ongoing workforce shortage, this bipartisan bill would help fill the gap by expanding access to and lowering the cost of apprenticeships, allowing more Americans to take advantage of these programs to gain in-demand skills and obtain good-paying jobs."
"People are living paycheck to paycheck -- they are in desperate need of a viable pathway to gain and use their skills," said DeLauro. "The American Apprenticeship Act will help raise wages and reduce worker turnover by investing in workers, helping them gain skills to get good-paying jobs. The programs created under the legislation would allow businesses to create a pipeline of skilled workers while improving their bottom line and strengthening our global competitiveness -- so workers win, business wins, and our economy grows."
The American Apprenticeship Act would:
Authorize the Department of Labor to award competitive grants to states that have developed effective strategies to diversify, market, and scale Registered Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs;
Authorize states to utilize grant funds to assist participants in Registered Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in obtaining industry-relevant classroom instruction;
Require the Department of Labor to analyze the use of apprenticeships for in-demand occupations; and
Recognize that states play a pivotal role in elevating and expanding Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships as workforce solutions.