Labor Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Apprenticeships
The National Apprenticeship Act of 2023 would add nearly one million apprenticeship opportunities over five years.
WASHINGTON – Today, House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with a group of bipartisan Members, announced the introduction of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2023.
The bill would create nearly one million new Registered Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years by investing more than $3.8 billion over five years. These resources will help scale up apprenticeship opportunities, streamline access to apprenticeships for both workers and employers, and expand apprenticeships into new and in-demand industry sectors and occupations.
“The Registered Apprenticeship system is one of the best tools we have to connect workers with in-demand skills with good-paying jobs, as well as provide employers with a pipeline of talented workers,” said Ranking Member Scott. “Democrats and Republicans came together in the last two Congresses to pass this bill, which would create nearly one million new apprenticeships, expand access to these opportunities for a more diverse group of workers and industries, and strengthen apprenticeship programs for the next generation of workers. The National Apprenticeship Act of 2023 is a clear win-win for workers and employers, and it will help grow the economy. I look forward to working with Congressman Fitzpatrick to finally deliver this long overdue investment for workers, for businesses, and for our economy.”
“Apprenticeship programs create the opportunity to grow our economy, prepare workers for in-demand careers, and address the trained workforce shortage,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to lead a bipartisan coalition introducing the National Apprenticeship Act, which will provide much needed reinforcement and reauthorization of our registered apprenticeship programs and will aim to create one million new apprentice positions in the next five years.”
“We are pleased with today’s bipartisan introduction of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2023. Registered Apprenticeship is the gold standard of all workforce development models. Our unions are living proof of its success as we have trained and graduated millions of men and women from these programs and into middle class careers in construction. Now is the time to strengthen and expand Registered Apprenticeship into other industries, for both blue and white collar jobs, who need to recruit and retain a well trained workforce. We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats to move and pass this timely legislation,” said Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU).
According to the Department of Labor (DOL), 93 percent of people who complete a Registered Apprenticeship are employed upon completion, earning an average starting wage of above $77,000 annually. Businesses also earn $1.44 back for every dollar invested in their Registered Apprenticeship program.
Despite these benefits, the Registered Apprenticeship system is significantly underfunded. The U.S. spends only about 0.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on workforce training and employment programs, while peer industrialized nations spend roughly six times as much as a share of their GDP.
The proposal’s historic investments in workforce training would not only benefit workers and their families, but also save American taxpayers an estimated $10.6 billion in increased tax revenues from higher worker pay and productivity and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.
The National Apprenticeship Act of 2023:
- Authorizes $400 million for fiscal year (FY) 2025, increasing by $100 million annually to $800 million for FY 2029;
- Codifies and streamlines standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, including requirements for apprenticeship agreements and program registration to ensure consistency in quality standards and worker protections;
- Codifies existing regulations and practices to ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to participate in programs under the national apprenticeship system, and to increase diversity in the occupations offered and the individuals participating in programs, especially in high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand industry sectors and occupations;
- Codifies DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship;
- Codifies the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs); and
- Strengthens the connections between the Department of Education and DOL through an interagency agreement to support the creation and expansion of youth apprenticeships, college consortiums, and data sharing agreements.
The bill is also led by 18 House Democrats and 15 House Republicans: Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Rep.Mark Pocan (WI-02), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-07), Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11), Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (At-Large-NMI), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-07), Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12), Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07), Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-06), Rep. Mark Takano (CA-39), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Rep. Lori Trahan (MA-03), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02), Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12), Rep. Mike Carey (OH-15), Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05), Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Rep. Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06), Rep. David Joyce (OH-14), Rep. Thomas Kean Jr. (NJ-07), Rep. Nicholas LaLota (NY-01), Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Rep. Max Miller (OH-07), Rep. Marc Molinaro (NY-19), and Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08).
Last Congress, the House passed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 with a bipartisan vote of 247-173. The House also included a revised version of that legislation in the House-passed America COMPETES Act.
Read the fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2023 here.
Read the section-by-section summary of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2023 here.
Read the bill text of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2023 here.
Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853
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