Trahan, Morelle Introduce Legislation to Increase Workers’ Access to Apprenticeship Programs
Washington, September 18, 2020
LOWELL, MA – Today, Representatives Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Joseph D. Morelle (NY-25), both members of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced legislation to provide workers with more opportunities to enroll in valuable apprenticeship programs.
“Apprenticeships are essential to workers’ ability to strengthen their skills and increase their value in the workplace – two things that will be critical as we continue navigating the economic fallout from COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “This legislation provides commonsense solutions to a very real workforce problem caused by this pandemic by ensuring that both workers and businesses are able to reap the rewards of apprenticeships. This bill is urgently needed, and I’ll be working with Congressman Morelle to secure a vote as soon as possible.”
“Skilled workers are the backbone of our economy—and apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity to grow and expand access to this workforce,” said Congressman Morelle. “These programs are more critical now than ever as we grapple with the long-term economic impacts of COVID-19. I’m proud to partner with Congresswoman Trahan on this important legislation to support and strengthen the future of our economy.”
The legislation authorizes the Department of Labor to provide grants to encourage participation in the national apprenticeship system by small- and medium-sized businesses. The grants may be used to defray the costs of participation, including:
The assistance would also prioritize opportunities for nontraditional apprenticeship populations, including women, minorities, individuals with a disability, veterans, and others.
Registered apprenticeships are a proven federal investment, with 94 percent of apprentices employed after completion of their programs, earning an average of over $70,000 annually. However, very few workers experience the benefits of apprenticeships. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that just 0.3 percent of workers nationwide have completed an apprenticeship.
It’s clear that legislation is needed to scale up the number of registered apprenticeships while growing youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, as well as ensuring that all programs are considered high-quality pathways to and through postsecondary education. Through continued investments like those provided in Trahan’s and Morelle’s legislation, registered apprenticeships can continue to expand to new industries, occupations, and populations, while continuing to serve as a proven pathway to the middle class and beyond.