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Washington, D.C. — House Democrats have released a discussion draft legislation to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act, which hasn’t been significantly updated in about 80 years. The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 seeks to modernize the national apprenticeship system by investing more than $1 billion in grants by 2025 to expand apprenticeship and providing clear guidelines around the registration process for apprenticeship programs.
The following is a statement from Katie Onachila-Spiker, Director of Government Affairs at National Skills Coalition, in response to the discussion draft legislation:
We’re glad to see that work-based learning and apprenticeship continue to garner bipartisan attention – both from the Trump administration’s efforts around the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) and this new discussion draft legislation to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act.
There is an urgent need to not only modernize our national apprenticeship system but also implement it in a way that expands equitable access to apprenticeship for workers. That’s why we’re pleased to see that the legislation would invest in pre-apprenticeship programs, which is particularly important for people of color and women who have been historically underrepresented in certain industries and apprenticeships.
Pre-apprenticeship programs create formal on-ramps for workers to employers who are looking to hire – a more equitable form of access than requiring workers to rely on their own professional and social networks, which are often segregated.
It is also a positive sign that the discussion draft legislation includes funding for youth apprenticeship and support for partnerships between businesses, education and training providers, human service organizations, and labor.
These partnerships are critical to expanding apprenticeship throughout the country and bringing together entities with the knowledge, experience, and ability to best serve workers and businesses, and leverage new and existing public investments in apprenticeship.
We look forward to working with policymakers, as well as our labor, business, postsecondary education, and community partners to ensure that White House and Congressional efforts around apprenticeship meet local business needs, expand equitable access to apprenticeship, and provide workers with the support services needed to succeed in those programs.