The House Committee on Education and Labor voted to advance the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, which would invest more than $3.5 billion to create nearly one million new apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years. The legislation would update the law for the first time since its enactment in 1937. Supporters say the bill makes historic investments in workforce training to confront the sharp rise in unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wireless Infrastructure Association applauded the action, which sent the bill to the full House. “The approval highlights the critical role apprenticeship plays in our economy,” said WIA VP Government and Public Affairs Matt Mandel. “WIA is the National Sponsor of the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program, which brought the apprenticeship model into the wireless industry for the first time and is the only program focused on 5G workforce training.”
Mandel noted the committee paid strong attention to creating and expanding apprenticeship to new industries. “This emphasis on promoting high-growth sectors, like the wireless industry, will spur economic growth and job creation and will help the U.S. win the global race to 5G,” he said.
The committee said studies show more than seven million jobs will be permanently lost due to the public health crisis. Committee Chairman Robert Scott stated: “The national apprenticeship system is well-suited to meet our current challenges. Apprentices begin earning wages on their first day of training and go on to develop in-demand skills and a nationally portable credential that is universally recognized by employers across the country.”
The legislation expands access to registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships. It would also yield $10.6 billion in net benefits to U.S. taxpayers in the form of increased tax revenue and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.
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