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house Bill H.R. 8294

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
···
11/20/2020
Developing the skills necessary for our country’s future is very important and while I think this program needs some adjustments to best meet those goals, I will leave that aside for the moment. I do not believe that this program should be solely managed by employers as the skills our country will need can often be broader than the needs of one particular employer. There should be some structure to assure that the broader skills are not ignored.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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11/19/2020
Why did it go away in the first place? Oh yes colleges and loan agencies lend money, apprenticeships earn money. There is why the government dropped it. I took an apprenticeship 45 years ago. No regrets at all, best move I ever made. Now retired with a great income. I see a comment that a large percentage of apprentices do not complete the program. That may be true, but 6 out of 10 college students do not complete college. That is 40% fail to complete. That tells me primary education is at fault. Nothing to strive for when you are just taught the test. Using no initiative on your own to expand in learning. Even primary school needs to allow students to excel lit learn failure early so they can change. Most parents are to busy working jobs to really care what their kids are doing in school. They know our system will socially pass them along. All this until they hit the real world, whether you pay for your education ir take on an apprenticeship. They never had to buckle down and really pass a test. There is the failures. But you that complain about apprenticeships must have stock in college loans.
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Dave 's Opinion
···
11/20/2020
I don’t know anything about this program. But it sounds like a really good thing. Which means that McConnell and the Republicans will probably end it.
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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
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11/19/2020
Why would anyone want to expand a program that is unsuccessful? While the DOL reports that there is a 94% placement upon graduation, only .03% completes the apprenticeship. This, by far, is not success. While the concept is a good one, there is obviously flaws in the execution. Prior to expansion, they need to reform the program first. One issue that appears to stand out is the level of involvement of the business or lack thereof. This would probably be a good starting point.
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Ryan 's Opinion
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11/19/2020
This should have been done long ago, but there does need to be more industry participation in this program. Committee Republicans are correct this program needs to be driven by businesses. The government is completely incapable of setting learning standards, requirements and needs.
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J's Opinion
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last Saturday
We need to stop expanding government programs. These are not critical!
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What is House Bill H.R. 8294?

This bill, known as the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, 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. A breakdown of its 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. 8294

$3.10 Billion
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this bill would cost $3.1 billion over the 2021-2025 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Sausan 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.”

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who serves as the Chair of the House Education and Labor (HELP) Committee, supports this legislation. He says:

“As our nation endures the deepest economic decline since the Great Depression, Congress has a responsibility to help Americans get back to work. The reauthorization of the National Apprenticeship Act is vital step toward accelerating the economic recovery for both workers and businesses. Registered Apprenticeships remain one of our most successful tools for connecting workers with in-demand skills and good-paying jobs. The investments in this bill will create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities while enhancing youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs that will prepare a new generation of workers for the modern economy. I am grateful to Rep. Davis for her leadership on this bill and her tireless efforts on behalf of workers and local businesses over the past two decades.”

In its fact sheet on this bill, the House Education and Labor Committee notes 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 notes 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 supports this legislation. 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 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 passed the House Education and Labor Committee by a 26-16 vote with the support of 44 Democratic House cosponsors.


Of NoteThe Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) system is the United States’ most successful federally authorized workforce development program. 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 unions’ 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 2020

Official Title

National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed November 20th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 246 Yea / 140 Nay
    IntroducedSeptember 17th, 2020

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    Developing the skills necessary for our country’s future is very important and while I think this program needs some adjustments to best meet those goals, I will leave that aside for the moment. I do not believe that this program should be solely managed by employers as the skills our country will need can often be broader than the needs of one particular employer. There should be some structure to assure that the broader skills are not ignored.
    Like (47)
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    Why would anyone want to expand a program that is unsuccessful? While the DOL reports that there is a 94% placement upon graduation, only .03% completes the apprenticeship. This, by far, is not success. While the concept is a good one, there is obviously flaws in the execution. Prior to expansion, they need to reform the program first. One issue that appears to stand out is the level of involvement of the business or lack thereof. This would probably be a good starting point.
    Like (10)
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    Yes, better yet: Support free education Pre-K thru college/technical school/apprenticeships! Let’s make America educated & employed!!!
    Like (32)
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    Why did it go away in the first place? Oh yes colleges and loan agencies lend money, apprenticeships earn money. There is why the government dropped it. I took an apprenticeship 45 years ago. No regrets at all, best move I ever made. Now retired with a great income. I see a comment that a large percentage of apprentices do not complete the program. That may be true, but 6 out of 10 college students do not complete college. That is 40% fail to complete. That tells me primary education is at fault. Nothing to strive for when you are just taught the test. Using no initiative on your own to expand in learning. Even primary school needs to allow students to excel lit learn failure early so they can change. Most parents are to busy working jobs to really care what their kids are doing in school. They know our system will socially pass them along. All this until they hit the real world, whether you pay for your education ir take on an apprenticeship. They never had to buckle down and really pass a test. There is the failures. But you that complain about apprenticeships must have stock in college loans.
    Like (29)
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    I don’t know anything about this program. But it sounds like a really good thing. Which means that McConnell and the Republicans will probably end it.
    Like (15)
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    Yes, I see that big business is “concerned” that the skills being taught would not meet their needs. This is why corporations could be brought in in an advisory capacity with regard to curriculum. The skills being taught need to expand to include all job levels. Education, I’m always for education!
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    A skilled labor force is necessary for economic growth so the simple answer is necessary BUT a decent leadership must look ahead to the trends and fund that will help our economy move seamlessly into the future. Support the apprentice training programs that will help our economy thrive.
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    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. SneakyPete. 👋👏👍👍👏👋 11.19.20
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    I taught an apprentice programs in two different colleges, they are mechanical, electronic and electrical programs. They were a 4 and 5 year program. Credits could be transferred to a engineering degree sponsor by unions, corporations and the state, plus were state ran controlled, certified and certificated. We are behind compared to other countries on education by design. It called dumb down America. It been an attack on unions and education by the every same groups that are complaining about no train personnel. Need to watch what you wish for!
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    We tried this. The whole program needs a complete overhaul in addition to being expanded to meet the needs of individuals who do not have a job to return to. And do it without without the use turning Millennials into the equivalent of indentured servants, please.
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    I think any way that we can encourage businesses to expand apprenticeship opportunities is a good idea. We are going to have a massive labor shortage in the skilled trades in the next decade, and Congress and the administration should do as much as possible to funnel people into these careers if appropriate. Businesses rarely take initiative on their own unless they want to take advantage of workers, so the government should provide motivation.
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    The Us needs this program. Yes to all education and a path to get there
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    We need a lot more people in the trades! Why waste taxpayer money to send young folks to college to be a snake oil salesman or a failed attorney? There is a lot of money to be made in the trades! These young lazy punks have no desire! Press them into the trades! Military Service first! They will turn out to be better people in life! Providers!
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    This is the best way to extol the value of genuine “Manual-Trade Labor”-skilled workers. To bring more parity to the constant promotion of ‘college education’, as preferred model to pursue.
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    Everyone doesn’t want or need to go to college. There are many very technical jobs that are constantly in short demand
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    It should never have been cancelled!
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    @davidf wrote: "Apprenticeships lead to good-paying jobs. That would be enough for my Republican Representative to vote against it, although he said otherwise I[n] his campaign and will do so again in his district." It’s the same old story, davidf, for any position you want to be enacted, you need to exert POLITICAL PRESSURE. To exert political pressure you need RESOURCES. 1. In any given District, you need a Committed Local Voting Block of Significant Size. 2. Articulate & credible spokespersons. 3. Articulate Press Release Writers. 4. A long term Voter Education Program. 5. Money for Lobbying. Personal connections willing to help in any way can be priceless. You'd best join up with one or more groups committed to an at minimum a generally Progressive Agenda that includes your agenda item. These groups must support an electable candidate likely able to defeat that useless Republican. Winning one Member of the House will not be enough. At the Federal level the President, House and the Senate must be turned some Shade of Blue. If you work in a unionized job, try to get active. It may not be easy to get in and may take a while. Once in you may not like the reality of what goes on; that's not the point. The point there is much be learned from the political process on the ground.
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    We need skilled workers in many of the trades. The best education for them could be an apprenticeship program.
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    Apprenticeships lead to good paying jobs. That would be enough for my Republican Representative to vote against it although he said otherwise I his campaign and will do so again in his district. @Frank-001: Save your lecture for someone else. I’ve been at this for 50 years.
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    We need to stop expanding government programs. These are not critical!
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