Members of the House Education and Labor Committee have given their approval to a bill that will give new life, and some $3.5 billion in funding, to the National Apprenticeship Act.
That Act dates back to the years of the New Deal, and was originally established as the Federal Committee on Apprenticeships.
As passed in 1937, it put into place a federal oversight of apprenticeship programs, which are now administered by the Department of Labor, establishing codifying standards for any number of training opportunities and general apprenticeships.
What is officially called the Registered Apprenticeship program currently offers training in more than 1,000 occupations.
According to the Department of Labor, 94% of apprentices who have completed a registered apprenticeship program go on to find jobs.
In asking earlier this year for the Act’s renewal, California Representative Susan Davis argued that the registered apprenticeship system has “proven essential to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American workers.”
Some committee members unsuccessfully argued in favor of providing funding for Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs. Such programs were earlier this year made a part of a training rule issued by the Trump Administration.
The White House had contended that Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs would give more apprenticeship oversight as well as credentialing authority to different industry groups. But ultimately a majority of the committee contended that those programs are deficient in quality standards and worker protections.
The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 now goes to the full House.
By Garry Boulard
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