Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) released the following statement following House passage of her amendment to H.R. 447, the National Apprenticeship Act (NAA) of 2021 – a bipartisan proposal that will create nearly 1 million additional apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years.
Strickland Amendment #23 requires the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship to take steps to ensure that people who are traditionally excluded from apprenticeship opportunities are being recruited, including: women, minorities, unemployed workers, people with disabilities, people recovering from substance abuse disorders, veterans, military spouses, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals impacted by the criminal or juvenile justice system, and foster and former foster youth. (Please find a copy of Strickland Amendment #23 at this link, and watch Strickland’s first-ever floor speech at this link.)
“During a time in which many Washingtonians are struggling to get back to work, Registered Apprenticeships represent a proven pathway to good-paying jobs. An incredible 94 percent of apprentices are employed upon completion of their program, and start off with an average pay of about $70,000, according to the Department of Labor. Unfortunately, historically underserved and underrepresented groups such as women, minorities, people with disabilities, veterans, military spouses, individuals experiencing homelessness, foster youth, and others are often excluded or unaware of this life-changing job pipeline.”
“Long before I came to Congress, I have always prioritized job creation, and I am overjoyed to continue in the same vein with the passage of my first-ever amendment, which will expand access to apprenticeship opportunities for South Sound residents during a time of unprecedented need,” said Strickland.
Strickland cosponsored two additional amendments which passed, Meng Amendment #14 and Moore Amendment #15, to increase diversity, representation, and access to apprenticeships for youth and people experiencing barriers to employment.
Strickland Amendment #23 to H.R. 447: Requires the Office of Apprenticeship to disseminate best practices to recruit nontraditional apprenticeship populations, women, minorities, long-term unemployed, individuals with a disability, individuals recovering from substance abuse disorders, veterans, military spouses, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals impacted by the criminal or juvenile justice system, and foster and former foster youth.
About the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021:
During a time of record unemployment, the bipartisan National Apprenticeship Act of 2021,invests more than $3.5 billion over 5 years in expanding opportunities and access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships. The proposal would create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system. It would also yield $10.6 billion in net benefits to U.S. taxpayers in the form of increased workers productivity and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance. This legislation passed the House in the 116th Congress by a vote of 246-140.
By increasing investments in the national apprenticeship system, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 will begin to bring America’s investments in apprenticeship more in line with countries around the world. The U.S. spends only about 0.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on workforce training and employment programs, while our peer industrialized nations spend roughly six times as much as a share of GDP.
The National Apprenticeship Act was first signed into law in 1937 during the Great Depression. In addition to creating pathways to the middle class and beyond, this reauthorization would help our nation recover from deepest economic decline since that time. Investing in this proven workforce system now will provide more Americans with a paid pathway to high-quality employment opportunities.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland serves as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.