U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement on the House passage of the National Apprenticeship Act to expand access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships and create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended local economies, leaving thousands of New Mexicans out of a job through no fault of their own. This important workforce development legislation will create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities for workers to earn a paycheck and expand their skillsets.
“Getting Americans back to work and helping families make ends meet during this public health crisis are my top priorities, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in passing this legislation today.”
The Registered Apprenticeship (RA) system gives Americans a pathway to the middle class. According to the Department of Labor, 94 percent of people who complete RAs are employed upon completion and earn an average starting wage of more than $70,000 annually.
The National Apprenticeship Act would:
- Authorize $400 million for fiscal year (FY) 2021, increasing by $100 million annually to $800 million for FY 2025 to support the creation or expansion of registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs and to encourage employer participation and recruitment of individuals with barriers to employment;
- Codify and streamline standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship programs, including requirements to ensure consistency in quality standards and worker protections;
- Ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to participate in programs under the national apprenticeship system, and to increase diversity in the occupations offered and the individuals participating in programs, especially in high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand industry sectors and occupations;
- Strengthen the connections between the Department of Education and Department of Labor to support the creation and expansion of youth apprenticeships, college consortiums, and data sharing agreements.