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house Bill H.R. 447

Should the Dept. of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program Be Expanded?

Argument in favor

Apprenticeship programs are an important job and career readiness option, especially in the current environment where many people may no longer be able to afford — or want to attend — traditional postsecondary education, or may need retraining in new industries after a job loss. Supporting and expanding the existing apprenticeship program at the Dept. of Labor is the easiest way for Congress to expand the availability of apprenticeships across the United States.

jimK's Opinion
···
02/05/2021
Yes, there are many skills needed for our country’s future. Skill developed through apprenticeship are just as important as any others and needs to be expanded. The more skilled, the more informed, the more empowered the skilled workforce is - the better off our country will be. Having hands-on training and experience available enables the timely transformation of ideas into practicable solutions. The smartest person that I have ever personally known never graduated from high school - yet was able, with simple tools, to build a quality violin essentially from scratch in his bedroom. After the rest of us graduated from high school he went to Hollywood to write theme songs for new MGM movie releases. He went on to build his own sound studio years ago. His education was his experience and his ability to work with things and well just have an innate knowledge of how things fit together. For a country on the edge of great challenges and great opportunities as we resolve those challenges, the need for a talented, skilled and capable workforce that knows the tricks of the trade is imperative. And no, I do not believe that these programs should be dominated by an employer’s needs alone - they need to be broader to ensure preparedness for the new challenges ahead.
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Hillary's Opinion
···
02/05/2021
Definitely! Even if an apprentice were unpaid it is still cheaper than college tuition! I've often thought that college courses should START with the final project- like student teaching, or a few months in the lab before they start their further training. How else would they know they really want to do that job? And, apprentice careers are often (not always!) in necessary fields like plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, and areas like that where hands on is the key to success. We badly need people who can fix things!!!
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larubia's Opinion
···
02/05/2021
Yes, apprenticeship programs should be expanded, but only in the areas where there is predicted growth. Training people when there are no jobs available, is futile.
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Argument opposed

The existing apprenticeship program at the Dept. of Labor is outdated and doesn’t meet the needs of many businesses, which would prefer to determine their own apprenticeship training requirements without the oversight of bureaucrats who don’t necessarily have the expertise to determine what skills are needed to train workers in a particular industry. Rather than expanding the existing apprenticeship program, Congress should take time to think about how to support industry-led apprenticeship programs that businesses take the lead in developing and administering.

B.R.'s Opinion
···
02/05/2021
Before supporting this bill, the facts need to be confirmed. On November 19, 2020, this bill was originated. Under the "Of Note" section, it claimed that the DOL reported that there is a 94% placement upon graduation, but only .03% completed the apprenticeship. Now the bill states that 0.3% of the overall US workforce has completed a apprenticeship. Why does this matter? If the original statement was accurate, it talks to the success of the program which is seriously lacking. While the concept of the program is good, without any reform, why would we want to expand a failing program.
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Thomas's Opinion
···
02/05/2021
The DoL program is outdated and on the verge of irrelevancy. I support vocational training in HS and better funding for technical education in community colleges.
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Jim2423's Opinion
···
01/31/2021
Department of Labor has adequate standards for apprenticeships. We do not need more government intervention in the apprenticeship programs. Individual occupations and labor unions along with Department of Labor sets the standards for each occupation. Congress in the past supported college education recently over apprenticeships. This placed millions of kids deep in debt along with parents. Congress keep out of the apprenticeship programs, you will only screw it up. Yes I went through an apprenticeship and damn proud of it. I made more money than most who went to college.
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What is House Bill H.R. 447?

This bill, known as the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, would provide statutory authority for the registered apprenticeship program at the Dept. of Labor (DOL). It would also support grant-related programs, among other provisions. In total, this bill would authorize over $3.5 billion for apprenticeship programs from 2021-2026. A breakdown of this bill’s various provisions can be found below.

This bill would provide statutory authority for the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) within the DOL, which is responsible for:

  • Supporting the development of apprenticeship models;

  • Recognize qualified state apprenticeship agencies and operating apprenticeship offices in states without a recognized agency;

  • Providing technical assistance to state agencies;

  • Periodically updating requirements for each occupation in the apprenticeship program and determining whether to approve new occupations for inclusion in the program; and

  • Awarding grants provided under this legislation.

Additionally, this bill would establish in statute the responsibilities of state apprenticeship agencies and offices. These responsibilities would include:

  • Providing technical assistance to stakeholders;

  • Resolving complaints;

  • Establishing state performance goals; and

  • Including descriptions of how their apprenticeship programs align with the skills needs of their states’ employers in their written plans.

The Office of Apprenticeship would enter into an agreement with the Dept. of Education to promote the integration and alignment of apprenticeship programs with secondary, postsecondary and adult education. It would also award grants to eligible entities to 1) expand national apprenticeship system programs, including by encouraging employer participation; and 2) strengthen alignment between the apprenticeship system and education providers.

Finally, this bill would establish criteria for various programs in statute. These criteria would include quality standards for apprenticeships, requirements for apprenticeship agreements between a program sponsor and an apprentice, and acceptable uses for grant funds awarded under this bill.

Impact

Apprentices; apprenticeship programs; businesses offering apprenticeship programs; Dept. of Labor; Dept. of Education; and the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) within the Dept. of Labor.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 447

$3.50 Billion
This bill would cost over $3.5 billion over the 2021-2025 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) led a bipartisan group of Members in reintroducing this bill to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act to create nearly one million new Registered Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship positions over the next five years. In a press release upon this bill’s introduction, Rep. Scott said:

“Registered Apprenticeships remain one of our most successful tools for connecting workers with in-demand skills and good-paying jobs. This bipartisan bill – which passed the House will overwhelming support last year – will create nearly 1 million new apprenticeships and expand these opportunities to include a more diverse group of workers and a wider array of industries. It also enhances youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that will prepare a new generation of workers for the modern economy. Congress must use every tool we have to address the widespread unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to once again passing this legislation through the House and I hope [the] Senate [will] act quickly to get this bill on the president’s desk. The National Apprenticeship Act is an important part of our renewed effort to help workers get back on their feet and build back a better economy.”  

In the 116th Congress, sponsoring Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) introduced this bill to expand apprenticeships and invest in workforce training:

“The National Apprenticeship Act will build on the success of apprenticeship programs by increasing our investment in American workers and creating more opportunities for them to get critical skills that lead to high-paying careers. We know the Registered Apprenticeship system is very successful, but it is just not having the impact on the workforce we need. By increasing standards, accountability, and coordinating programs with higher education institutions along with a greater investment, it will benefit more workers, the taxpayers, and our economy.”

In its fact sheet on this bill in the previous Congress, the House Education and Labor Committee noted that this legislation would create nearly one million new apprenticeship opportunities in addition to the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system. The committee also noted that expanding the apprenticeship program would yield $10.6 billion in net benefits to U.S. taxpayers. These would come in the form of increased worker productivity and decreased spending on public assistance programs and unemployment insurance.

The National Skills Coalition supported this legislation in the 116th Congress. Its Director of Government Affairs, Kate Spiker, says funding for youth apprenticeships and support for business-education partnerships is “critical to expanding apprenticeship throughout the country and bringing together entities with the knowledge, experience, and ability to best serve workers and businesses.”

The majority of House Education and Labor Committee Republicans opposed this bill when it was considered in their committee in the 116th Congress. In their minority views report, these committee members argued that registered apprenticeships give the DOL, rather than businesses themselves, too much power to determine training needs in industries:

“Although there is little data available on non-registered earn-and-learn programs, it is estimated that they comprise more than 80 percent of all apprenticeship programs. Businesses have expressed concerns that participation in registered apprenticeships allows DOL to dictate the skills their business must provide to apprentices in specific industries rather than allowing the businesses to determine what is needed. If a business created an apprenticeship model that meets their needs, then attempting to mold their program to fit the requirements of a registered apprenticeship would be counterproductive… Congress should update the NAA, but that update must be focused on meeting the needs of individuals seeking opportunities for advancement in the workforce and employers seeking to bridge the skills gap. While H.R. 8924 may be a step in the right direction in some aspects, the bill too often simply rubber stamps a decades old system, does not go far enough to streamline registered apprenticeships for today’s economy, and does not protect business’ ability to tailor their programs to individual needs.”

This legislation has 69 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 59 Democrats and 10 Republicans. In the last Congress, this bill passed the House Education and Labor Committee by a 26-16 vote and passed the House by a 246-140 vote with the support of 44 Democratic House cosponsors.


Of Note: The Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) system is the most successful federally authorized workforce development program, as the Dept. of Labor (DOL) reports that 94% of apprentices who complete Registered Apprenticeships are employed upon graduation at an average annual starting wage of over $70,000. However, the most recent data indicates that only 0.3% of the overall U.S. workforce has completed an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are arrangements that include a paid-work component and an educational or instructional component in which an individual obtains workplace-relevant knowledge and skills. Companies with apprenticeship programs register with either the DOL or a state labor agency. Program participants are paid by the employer while they receive training at work and in an educational setting (such as a college classroom or trade school). At the end of the program, the apprentice receives a job and an industry-recognized credential based on passing some form of assessment. Apprenticeship programs are overseen by either the federal government or a state agency in order to ensure that they meet national quality standards.

In 2016, then-National Economic Council Director Jeffrey Zients and then-Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez argued that apprenticeships are a strategic investment that pays dividends for both employees and employers. They observed that 91% of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, and that the average starting salary for someone coming out of an apprenticeship program is over $60,000. They also noted that employers benefit from apprenticeship programs, as every dollar invested in an apprentice returns $1.47 to the employer in the form of increased productivity, reduced waste, and greater innovation.

Brent Parton, deputy director of the center on education and skills at the New America Foundation, argues that growing the U.S. apprenticeship system, “even at a modest level, could be transformative.” He adds that apprenticeship is “an underutilized way of learning, something that’s really been something of a best-kept secret in a handful of industries.”

Some critics of apprenticeship programs point out that they tend to exclude women and people of color, particularly in higher-wage positions. Currently, most apprentices are white and male. In 2017, the DOL cancelled two contracts that sought to promote racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in apprenticeship programs.

More broadly, apprenticeship programs in the U.S. are plagued by doubts about their ability to become mainstream. Unlike in Europe, where apprenticeship programs are deeply ingrained in countries’ cultures (as is the case in Switzerland, where most 15-year-olds are in apprenticeships, or Germany, where the culture of apprenticeship has existed for hundreds of years thanks to strong national trade union support), federally registered apprenticeships currently account for only 0.3% of the overall U.S. workforce

Due in part to their rarity in the U.S., apprenticeships also don’t have a well-defined relationship with higher education. Governing’s J.B. Wogan observes, “Proponents often trip over how to describe [apprenticeships] in relation to higher education: Are these part of someone’s eventual path to a four-year bachelor’s degree, or are they a cost-effective substitute for college?”

There are also practical barriers to expanding apprenticeship as a concept. The modern economy, in which workers have increased mobility and an easier time switching jobs, makes employers wary of investing in worker training, such as apprenticeships. Additionally, because apprenticeships train workers more narrowly than traditional college degrees, workers who are trained in such programs are among the most vulnerable workers during recessions, as their relatively narrower skill sets and less flexible knowledge can make it difficult to switch between industries.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / andresr)

AKA

National Apprenticeship Act of 2021

Official Title

To amend the Act of August 16, 1937 (commonly referred to as the "National Apprenticeship Act") and expand the national apprenticeship system to include apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeship registered under such Act, to promote the furtherance of labor standards necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • The house Passed February 5th, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 247 Yea / 173 Nay

    Your Representative Voted

    Rep Mrvan
    Voted yea
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 25th, 2021

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    Yes, there are many skills needed for our country’s future. Skill developed through apprenticeship are just as important as any others and needs to be expanded. The more skilled, the more informed, the more empowered the skilled workforce is - the better off our country will be. Having hands-on training and experience available enables the timely transformation of ideas into practicable solutions. The smartest person that I have ever personally known never graduated from high school - yet was able, with simple tools, to build a quality violin essentially from scratch in his bedroom. After the rest of us graduated from high school he went to Hollywood to write theme songs for new MGM movie releases. He went on to build his own sound studio years ago. His education was his experience and his ability to work with things and well just have an innate knowledge of how things fit together. For a country on the edge of great challenges and great opportunities as we resolve those challenges, the need for a talented, skilled and capable workforce that knows the tricks of the trade is imperative. And no, I do not believe that these programs should be dominated by an employer’s needs alone - they need to be broader to ensure preparedness for the new challenges ahead.
    Like (67)
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    Before supporting this bill, the facts need to be confirmed. On November 19, 2020, this bill was originated. Under the "Of Note" section, it claimed that the DOL reported that there is a 94% placement upon graduation, but only .03% completed the apprenticeship. Now the bill states that 0.3% of the overall US workforce has completed a apprenticeship. Why does this matter? If the original statement was accurate, it talks to the success of the program which is seriously lacking. While the concept of the program is good, without any reform, why would we want to expand a failing program.
    Like (24)
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    Definitely! Even if an apprentice were unpaid it is still cheaper than college tuition! I've often thought that college courses should START with the final project- like student teaching, or a few months in the lab before they start their further training. How else would they know they really want to do that job? And, apprentice careers are often (not always!) in necessary fields like plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, and areas like that where hands on is the key to success. We badly need people who can fix things!!!
    Like (39)
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    Yes, apprenticeship programs should be expanded, but only in the areas where there is predicted growth. Training people when there are no jobs available, is futile.
    Like (29)
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    The DoL program is outdated and on the verge of irrelevancy. I support vocational training in HS and better funding for technical education in community colleges.
    Like (18)
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    We are about to face a massive shortage in skilled tradespeople. We need to support programs such as apprenticeships to help more young people and transitioning workers to be successful in pursuing trades jobs and other jobs that don't require college education. I think this is common sense and worth the investment.
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    Excellent, Dave! 👍🏻👍🏻👏🏻👏🏻❤️😊. You hit the nail on the head. The Repugnants have been dumbing down the schools for years - Keeping our children ignorant, so that they can control them, is their motto. Passing them on to the next grade, when they have not achieved the lessons from the previous grade. Not giving the schools the aid they need to pay a living wage to the teachers or furnish them with the supplies they need. Keeping racist, uncaring teachers in classrooms. I hope our new Secretary of Education will look closely at the books our children are given to study these days. Let us tell the truth about our history. Let them know how we slaughtered the Indian people. Let them know that America was built on the backs of slaves. Tell them the truth of what the Nazi’s stood for and how many died, for starters. We need to wake up and pay more attention to what our children are learning. Many children have not been able to study, or learn much from this past year. I BELIEVE WE SHOULD NOT COUNT THIS YEAR AS A YEAR OF ACADEMIC LEARNING. I BELIEVE NO GRADES SHOULD BE GIVEN TO CHILDREN THIS YEAR AND THAT ALL STUDENTS SHOULD, THIS COMING FALL, BE IN THE SAME GRADE THAT THEY WERE IN NOW. I BELIEVE THAT IS THE ONLY FAIR WAY TO HANDLE THE DISPARITY THAT MANY CHILDREN EXPERIENCED. WE SHOULD LET THIS PAST YEAR BE A LEARNING EXPERIENCE, NOT A BLACK MARK AS THEY BEGIN SCHOOL IN THE FALL!
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    Yes, any program that provides education/mentoring for unskilled labor so they can attain a skilled trade must be expanded and supported.
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    YES! Expand much-needed apprenticeship programs.
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    Department of Labor has adequate standards for apprenticeships. We do not need more government intervention in the apprenticeship programs. Individual occupations and labor unions along with Department of Labor sets the standards for each occupation. Congress in the past supported college education recently over apprenticeships. This placed millions of kids deep in debt along with parents. Congress keep out of the apprenticeship programs, you will only screw it up. Yes I went through an apprenticeship and damn proud of it. I made more money than most who went to college.
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    This would definitely be helpful. Not everyone wants or can afford higher education. Apprenticeships should be recognized and expanded so this country is able to gain high quality trades people and employ them expediently. Of course my Qanon representative voted no because she really doesn’t give a good god damn about the common folk.
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    Yes. We need education of all varieties to raise informed, enabled, confident people.
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    Need more details.
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    The apprentice program under the unions gave you the trades. High schools started the interest in the certificates, trades and college, but corporations and some businesses wanted to dumb down America, because knowledge is power, control, better labor, more efficient and higher pay. To complete it the world knowledge and training is what is required, gone many years ago is the non certified back yard mechanic and electrician. Dumbing down America, hurts America. All education is an investment in America, should be funded for the good of the country, like what most countries do, because it’s an investment in the future of America. White supremacy, white nationalist, QAnon, proud boys, KKK and racist bigotry is an example of dumbing down America!
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    How many times do I need to exemplify (sp. thanks Apple spell🤣) Rep. kevin brady, just another in a long (and getting longer) line of ‘Not Voting’ votes to your resume. Just another trumpubican coward, seditionist and traitor ‼️. Come on asshole, prove me wrong ⁉️
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    👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻 H.R. - 447 [National Apprenticeship Act of 2021] 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻 I stand in strong opposition to this House bill H.R. 447 AKA National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, which would provide statutory authority for the registered apprenticeship program at the Dept. of Labor (DOL). It would also support grant-related programs, among other provisions. In total, this bill would authorize over $3.5 billion for apprenticeship programs from 2021-2026. A breakdown of this bill’s various provisions can be found below. The existing apprenticeship program at the Dept. of Labor is outdated and doesn’t meet the needs of many businesses, which would prefer to determine their own apprenticeship training requirements without the oversight of bureaucrats who don’t necessarily have the expertise to determine what skills are needed to train workers in a particular industry. Rather than expanding the existing apprenticeship program, Congress should take time to think about how to support industry-led apprenticeship programs that businesses take the lead in developing and administering. SneakyPete. 👎🏻👎🏻HR.447👎🏻 2.5.20
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    As the skilled trade masters age and retire, we will still need electricians, plumbers, etc. There is no where to learn these trades since the Trade Techs faded away. Nit everyone is suited to go to college and wear a suit.
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    This program is important to provide adequate national supply of craftsmen and trade professionals in more than a dozen trades. It makes sense to coordinate and work with the labor unions and industries to provide the right kinds of training to the interested students. Practices may need some revision, but I would leave that to the experts in those fields rather than Congress. (How many Congressmen are plumbers? Right.)
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    Representative Obernolte must think that there is no need for apprenticeship programs. He could not be further from the facts. Many of us in his district are out of work and an apprenticeship program especially if is a paid program would allow many of us to leave the service sectors that pay so little and enter jobs that pay a living wage. OBERNOLTE, YOU could have tried to amend it to make it better. It is a disappointment that you are anti-labor!!
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    All Congress seems capable of doing is creating committees to do something that doesn't do anything. This sounds more smoke. We already know they don't read what they sign into law.
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