Murray, Hatch Introduce EARNS Act to Help More Students, Workers, and Employers Compete in the Global Economy
By 2018, the U.S. will face a shortage of millions of workers with recognized postsecondary credentials
The EARNS Act would intensify the development of pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs across the country
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced the Effective Apprenticeships Rebuild National Skills (EARNS) Act, legislation to strengthen the nation’s workforce development system through registered apprenticeship programs. The EARNS Act would support pre-apprenticeship programs and new or expanding registered apprenticeship programs that provide national, portable credentials, and help secure academic credit for on-the-job learning portions of an apprenticeship.
“To ensure that our workforce can truly lead in the 21st century global economy, we need our students and workers to be prepared to compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs in industries across the economy,” Senator Murray said. “By strengthening and expanding registered apprenticeship programs, we can help workers get the training and experience they’ll need, while they are also earning a paycheck, and provide a ladder of opportunity to reach a stable middle class life. I look forward to continuing working with Senator Hatch and others to expand registered apprenticeships to serve more students, workers, and businesses across the country.”
“Today’s apprenticeship programs are in desperate need of reform,” Senator Hatch said. “Outdated models and overbearing federal requirements have strangled many job-training programs, preventing millions of workers from gaining the national credentials and transferable academic credits they need to sharpen their skills and progress in their careers. I am committed to advancing a bipartisan reform to update America’s aging apprenticeship programs. That’s why Senator Murray and I have introduced the EARNS Act—a transformative bill that will not only expand and promote apprenticeships, but also reform the registered apprenticeship program to meet the needs of employers and employees alike. Ultimately, this bipartisan reform will help bring American apprenticeship into the 21st century.”
This bill is co-sponsored by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Al Franken (D-MN).
The EARNS Act builds on a proven model supported by clear evidence of success. A 2012 evaluation of registered apprenticeship programs by Mathematica Policy Research found that the tax return on every public dollar invested in registered apprenticeship programs was $27. It further found that individuals who completed registered apprenticeship programs earned over $240,000 more over their careers than individuals not participating in such programs.
FACT SHEET: Effective Apprenticeships Rebuild National Skills (EARNS) Act:
Effective Apprenticeships Rebuild National Skills Act
Sponsored by Senators Murray and Hatch
Original Co-sponsors: Senators Scott, Kaine, Collins and Franken
A highly skilled workforce is necessary to compete in the global economy, support economic growth, and maintain the standard of living of the United States. US registered apprenticeships is an employer led training model that prepares workers for the skill requirements of in-demand occupations while providing the workers with recognized, national credentials and wages while in training.
A 2012 evaluation of registered apprenticeship programs by Mathematica Policy Research found that—
- the tax return on every public dollar invested in registered apprenticeship programs was $27:1, and
- individuals who completed registered apprenticeship programs earned over $240,000 more over their careers than individuals not participating in such programs.
A 21st century workforce requires that registered apprenticeships are thriving in all economic sectors, including service, information, trades, finance, manufacturing and healthcare.
The EARNS Act:
- codifies the Office of Apprenticeship at the U.S. Department of Labor, allowing for Congressional oversight and budgetary regular authority;
- supports and promotes the development of pre-apprenticeship programs by investing in training with a required link to a registered apprenticeship placement;
- promotes greater diversity in registered apprenticeship programs;
- aligns registered apprenticeship programs with other federal education and training programs and with state and local workforce development boards;
- establishes a National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships, sets its membership, and tasks the Committee to make recommendations on streamlining the registration process and maintain standards;
- requires an evaluation of the return on federal investment in improving skills and employability of participants and alignment with employer workforce needs;
- establishes a voluntary Registered Apprenticeship College Collaborative to create a mechanism for conferring academic credit for employer led, on-the-job training and experiential learning and to expand registered apprenticeships as a post-secondary education option; and
- expands the number employers offering registered apprenticeships by making available funds to defray the upfront costs for companies that create their first apprenticeship program or add companies to existing registered apprenticeships.
The EARNS Act will:
- increase the number of highly skilled workers in in-demand industry sectors and occupations;
- increase the attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials by participants;
- increase awareness among students, parents, workers, and employers about the value of the registered apprenticeship program model as an effective earn-and-learn model;
- support the expansion of registered apprenticeship programs with employers, joint labor management partnerships, and other program sponsors;
- support the development and expansion of pre-apprenticeship programs that prepare workers for success in an employer led registered apprenticeship program; and
- support a closer alignment between registered apprenticeship programs, the workforce development system, and postsecondary education.
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