Democrats Promote Benefits of Registered Apprenticeships, Increase Economic Mobility for American Workers

WASHINGTON – Today, at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development (HEWD), Committee Democrats promoted high-quality registered apprenticeship programs as a proven path to help American workers develop the skills they need to qualify for good-paying jobs and rewarding careers.

The hearing, entitled “On-The-Job: Rebuilding the Workforce Through Apprenticeships,” gave Democrats an opportunity to highlight the benefits of registered apprenticeships programs, which are essential to ensuring quality. Accountability protects both apprentices’ time and taxpayers’ money by ensuring federal investments are producing results.

Democrats also highlighted the benefit of intermediary organizations that help connect workers, employers, educators, and workforce development groups to facilitate and scale up access to registered apprenticeships.

“As our Committee looks to advance policies that build a highly skilled workforce, we must support training models that help students, workers, and businesses succeed. Apprenticeships are a method of on-the-job training that have successfully trained workers for centuries,said Rep. Susan Davis, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. “We know that apprenticeships must be prestigious enough to attract students who seek the most challenging and aspirational programs. As we’ve heard time and again from both Republican and Democratic witnesses before this committee, the key to maintaining the prestige of apprenticeships is ensuring that we keep the qualities that have made these programs a success. We must ensure that while encouraging industry input in apprenticeships, there is also accountability to taxpayers, apprentices and businesses.”

Unfortunately, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans’ recent actions undermine the core elements which have registered apprenticeships successful.

“Since 2001, funding for WIOA has declined by 40 percent. Industry partners like those we work with are investing in expanding apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship, and they need the support of the federal government to truly take these programs to scale,” said Mr. Mark Kessenich, President, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership. “It is incumbent upon policymakers to drive resources to innovations and practices that offer high wages, benefits, and a clear pathway to advancement within their workplaces. Expanding registered apprenticeship, supporting an infrastructure of local partnerships between workforce development system, local industry partners, education provider and community-based organizations, and strong federal investments in workforce and education are crucial to meet business demand and worker needs.”

To bolster registered apprenticeship programs, Democrats have proposed several bills to expand investment in our nation’s apprenticeship programs.

OPENING STATEMENT: Ranking Member Susan Davis, Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee

WITNESS TESTIMONY: Mr. Mark Kessenich, President, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership


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