Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs

Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would overhaul and expand the nation’s apprenticeship programs and better train workers for the changing global economy.

Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe Democrats demand Trump officials withdraw rule on transgender health The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate MORE (D-Wash.) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) unveiled the legislation that aims to bolster the nation’s workforce development system through registered apprenticeship programs.


The measure — the Effective Apprenticeships Rebuild National Skills (EARNS) Act — would support pre-apprenticeship programs and new or expanding registered apprenticeship programs that provide nationally recognized credentials and would help with earning academic credit.

“To ensure that our workforce can truly lead in the 21st century global economy, we need our students and workers to be prepared to compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs in industries across the economy,” said Murray, the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

"By strengthening and expanding registered apprenticeship programs, we can help workers get the training and experience they’ll need, while they are also earning a paycheck, and provide a ladder of opportunity to reach a stable middle-class life," she said. 

Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that current apprenticeship programs “are in desperate need of reform.”

“Outdated models and overbearing federal requirements have strangled many job-training programs, preventing millions of workers from gaining the national credentials and transferable academic credits they need to sharpen their skills and progress in their careers,” Hatch said.

By 2018, the U.S. will face a shortage of millions of workers with recognized postsecondary credentials, the lawmakers said.

A 2012 evaluation of registered apprenticeship programs found that the return on every public dollar invested in registered apprenticeship programs was $27, according to a survey by the Mathematica Policy Research.

The survey also found that individuals who completed registered apprenticeship programs earned $240,000 more over their careers than individuals not participating in such programs.

This bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGOP Sen. Tim Scott says if he runs in 2022 it will be his last race When it comes to student debt, it is time to talk solutions Democrats call for Senate to return to vote on gun reform after two deadly mass shootings MORE (R-S.C.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback Almost three-quarters say minimum age to buy tobacco should be 21: Gallup Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (D-Va.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Maine) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again Al Franken urges Trump to give new speech after shootings: 'Try to make it sound like you're sincere, even if you're not' MORE (D-Minn).