07.26.17

Subcommittee Democrats Push for Stronger Investments in Apprenticeship Programs

WASHINGTON – TODAY, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing titled, “Expanding Options for Employers and Workers Through Earn-and-Learn Opportunities.” There is broad bipartisan support for building a highly skilled workforce through proven models such as registered apprenticeship programs.

Registered apprenticeships have been training students for quality, high-paying jobs for decades,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Susan Davis (CA-53). “These programs integrate on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. They also work with local community colleges to build and develop curriculum that allows apprentices to have stackable, transferable credentials and allow them to transition into other higher education pathways. I also believe that we can make apprenticeships more appealing by expanding them beyond the traditional trades. Companies must build upon the phenomenal work that the building trades have done to open up apprenticeships in new industries. By recognizing and rewarding companies who develop successful programs, we can incentivize more industries to expand apprenticeships across the country.”

Rob Hogan served as the Democratic witness. Hogan is the vice president of Manufacturing and Material Distribution for Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS). The NNS Apprentice School is the preeminent apprenticeship program in the nation and offers four-, five-, and eight-year apprenticeships in 19 shipbuilding disciplines and eight advanced programs of study. The school offers apprentices the opportunity to earn college credit, receive competitive pay and benefits, and learn a trade.

“Recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce capable of operating and keeping pace with today’s rapidly evolving technology is NNS’ top priority,” said Hogan. “NNS continues to establish robust training and development programs intended to develop and leverage the full potential of the workforce, increase employee engagement and efficiency, drive innovation, quality, productivity and growth. Training and professional development are not only vital for our success but are essential tactics in attracting and retaining Millennial workers who demand ongoing learning and new opportunities.”

Ranking Member Davis also noted that House Republicans recently voted to weaken the federal commitment to registered apprenticeship programs.

“Last week, in a disappointing maneuver, the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill eliminated federal dollars for apprenticeship programs and called on the authorizers to pass an authorization bill” continued Davis. “These dollars in the past were used to promote diversity and support intermediaries so that small businesses can benefit from apprenticeships. If that’s the case, let’s give the appropriators clarity in the form of an authorization. I know that Ranking Member Scott, myself, and most of the Democrats on this committee support Rep. Pocan’s LEARNS Act and are willing to have a markup on it tomorrow, if the Chair would schedule it.”

Earlier this year Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) introduced H.R. 2933 the LEARNS Act, which makes a strong investment in apprenticeship programs and ensure the effectiveness of the programs. Ranking Member Davis is a cosponsor of the bill along with Full Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), and Reps. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Polis (CO-02), Mark Takano (CA-41), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), and Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).

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