Bill to boost pre-Apprenticeship programs introduced
5/16/2017, 3:52 p.m.
Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has introduced the Apprenticeship Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 2377) to help expand the use of pre-apprenticeship programs. This legislation would amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to include pre-apprenticeship programs, which would allow U.S. Department of Labor funds currently distributed to states to be used to help reimburse sponsors of pre-apprenticeship programs in the same manner as they do sponsors of apprenticeship programs.
Apprenticeships are a commonly used workforce-training model that combines on-the-job experience with classroom instruction. Registered apprenticeship programs are those that have been certified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship and/or with the state’s apprenticeship agency. Participants in a Registered Apprenticeship program can expect the typical apprenticeship experience but are ensured a wage, a full-time position, and an industry-wide recognized credential upon successful completion of the program. The average starting wage for former registered apprentices is $50,000.
“Pre-apprenticeship programs provide potential applicants with the chance to see all that apprenticeships have to offer,” stated Rep. Lipinski. “Participants receive hands-on training and complete coursework designed to prepare applicants for a Registered Apprenticeship program. My bill making pre-apprenticeship programs eligible for federal funding that is already available to states will help train more people for good-paying middle-class jobs that they otherwise would not have had an opportunity to attain.”
Although there is widespread political and industry support for registered apprenticeships and the apprenticeship model, a recent study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that by 2020 there will be a shortage of roughly five million workers with postsecondary credentials in the United States. Congressman Lipinski’s legislation will help more employers entice applicants to experience their pre-apprenticeship programs, which will ultimately lead to better participation in the rewarding Registered Apprenticeship program.