Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds the Passage of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) today released the following statement of support for H.R. 447, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, upon its adoption by the House of Representatives. This legislation will grant $3.9 billion over five years to expand registered apprenticeships through grants and modify the approval process for apprenticeship programs.  

The U.S. is facing a dire economic crisis, with more than 11.1 million unemployed and more than eight million people having fallen into poverty since the start of the pandemic.  

This legislation will help create 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system. It would also yield $10.6 billion in benefits to U.S. taxpayers in the form of increased workers productivity and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.  

 “As we fight back a public health and economic crisis that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, it is critical that we provide our workforce with the tools to thrive,” said Congresswoman Lee. “We must open opportunities for workers, especially young people just entering the job market. Investing in registered apprenticeship programs is one of the best ways to prepare workers for careers in highly skilled jobs. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation, which will expand economic opportunities for people across the country.”  

Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) provide workers with paid, on-the-job training and are the most successful federal workforce training programs. According to the Department of Labor, 94 percent of people who complete RAs are employed upon completion and earn a starting wage of more than $70,000 a year.   

Read the full text of the bill online here.  

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2021:  

Authorizes $400 million for fiscal year (FY) 2022, increasing by $100 million annually to $800 million for FY 2026, to: 

  • Support the creation or expansion of registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs, including in non-traditional apprenticeship occupations and for nontraditional populations 
  • Encourage employer participation and recruitment for individuals with barriers to employment, including individuals impacted by the criminal justice system and individuals with disabilities 
  • Support national industry and equity intermediaries, and intermediaries at the regional or local level 
  • Establish or expand educational alignment with programs under the national apprenticeship system 
  • Codifies and streamlines standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, including requirements for apprenticeship agreements and program registration to ensure consistency in quality standards and worker protections. 
  • Codifies existing regulations and practices to 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.  
  • Codifies the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship, including roles and responsibilities such as: 
    • Increasing participation in programs under the national apprenticeship system through technical assistance and program recognition activities 
    • Bringing together industry sector leaders and experts, including employers, industry associations, labor and joint labor-management organizations, education and training providers, credential providers, and apprentices to establish national frameworks to expand apprenticeships to new occupations and sectors  
    • Improving the data infrastructure to improve reporting and publicly disseminating information about apprenticeship programs 
  • Codifying the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships 
    • Establishing the evaluation system for the national apprenticeship system to bring performance metrics in line with those of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act  
  • Codifies the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) to include: 
    • Authorizing annual funding for State Apprenticeship Offices and SAAs at $75 million for fiscal year (FY) 2022, increasing by $10 million annually to reach $115 million for FY 2026, with one-third of funds equally distributed to all States and outlying areas, and two-thirds of funds distributed via formula to SAAs  
    • Requiring SAAs to submit plans for registered apprenticeship activities, which generally mirror existing state requirements under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act  
    • Strengthens the connections between the Department of Education and Department of Labor through an interagency agreement to support the creation and expansion of youth apprenticeships, college consortiums, and data sharing agreements.  

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 is endorsed by: Advance CTE American Association of Community Colleges American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Association for Career and Technical Education Association of Equipment Manufacturers Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers Brick Industry Association, Center for Law and Social Policy Center for Law and Social Policy Council for Professional Recognition Credential Engine Healthcare Career Advancement Program IBM International Association of Iron Workers International Brotherhood of Teamsters Jobs for the Future KWH Law Center for Social Justice and Change Laborers’ International Union of North America Manufacturing Institute Modular Building Institute National Healthcareer Association National Electrical Contractors Association National Job Corps Association National League of Cities National Task Force on Tradeswomen's Issues National Skills Coalition National Urban League New America North America's Building Trades Unions Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the United Transportation Union Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance Third Way United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters United States Conference of Mayors Washington Technology Industry Association World Floor Covering Association YouthBuild USA