04.21.16

Murray Highlights Her Continued Work to Expand Apprenticeships Across the Country

Bipartisan legislation led by Murray, and newly announced funding opportunities from DOL, among efforts to increase access to registered apprenticeships

 

Murray: “Apprenticeships can provide a ladder of opportunity for more Americans to reach a stable middle class life.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered remarks at an event hosted by the National Governors Association (NGA) and Jobs for the Future to discuss efforts to expand apprenticeships. Last year, Senator Murray, as Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, was able to secure $90 million in new apprenticeship funding for states to increase capacity to register and oversee apprenticeship programs, industries to launch innovative new apprenticeships, and organizations to improve diversity in these highly successful programs. In 2014, Murray worked across the aisle to pass the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) Act, which helps registered apprenticeship programs become eligible for federal funding, among other provisions. Murray has also emphasized her ongoing work on the Promoting Apprenticeships for Credentials and Employment (PACE) Act that would help increase the number of skilled workers in growing sectors, via apprenticeships.

 

Senator Murray was joined at the event by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez who announced plans for the new $90 million in funding, which is geared toward states, industry, labor, and community based organizations.

 

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“Apprenticeships can provide a ladder of opportunity for more Americans to reach a stable middle class life. In 2014, Washington state studied the benefits of apprenticeships. Here’s what they found: workers who complete an apprenticeship program earn $300,000 more over their lifetime. That’s good for the economy. In fact, the general public gets a 23 to 1 return on investment for every dollar investing in a registered apprentice.”

 

“In 2013, I fought to reach a bipartisan budget deal with Paul Ryan…It restored critical investments in education, health care, research, and jobs. And it laid a foundation for continued bipartisan work. That budget agreement and the one that followed two years later, allowed me to fight for and secure $90 million in new apprenticeship funding last year. That $90 million investment will support competitive grants for states to take important steps, like increasing capacity to register and oversee apprenticeship programs and invest in innovation. The grant program also will allow new industries to launch apprenticeship models that are tailored to meet their unique needs. And it will help organizations reach underserved populations.”

 

“And as many of you know, in 2014, I worked with Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – also known as WIOA. In that law, we made clear that creating career pathways and apprenticeships go hand in hand. WIOA swung the door open for registered apprenticeship programs to be eligible for federal funding. And the law is designed to help get more job-seekers into apprenticeship programs so they can advance their skills.”

 

“And that’s why I believe we need to do much more to expand access to registered apprenticeship programs. Here is one important step I want to take going forward. In 2014, I introduced a bill called the Promoting Apprenticeships for Credentials and Employment Act – the PACE Act for short. That bill would invest in apprenticeships and increase the number of skilled workers in growing sectors, like health care. That will not only help people find jobs now – it will also prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. I’m excited about the PACE Act, and I have been working hard to strengthen the legislation and gain strong bipartisan support in the Senate.”

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks: 

 

“Scott, thank you for that introduction and thank you for all the work you do with the National Governor’s Association.

 

“I appreciate the NGA for hosting this great event today.

 

“Local and state leaders and governors across the country know that apprenticeships hold an enormous amount of promise for workers, businesses, and our economy.

 

“So I want to thank everyone here today for your work to promote apprenticeships around the country.

 

“I know you heard from Senator Hatch earlier.

 

“He’s been a great colleague and partner on this issue.

 

“And I also want to recognize Ambassador of Switzerland, Martin Dahinden.

 

“Countries like Switzerland have invested in apprenticeships, and those investments have paid off for their economies. So thank you for being here.

 

“I also heard that we have folks from South Seattle Community College here? And representatives from W-T-I-A and the Washington Apprenticeship Council?

 

“I’m so glad you could make the trip to the “other Washington” here in DC.

 

“Apprenticeships can be the key that unlocks good-paying jobs for more Americans.

 

“They can add up to a critical competitive advantage for businesses and industries.

 

“And they can help our economy grow from the middle out, not the top down.

 

“Today, I’ll talk a little bit about how I’ve been able to move the ball forward here in Congress. 

 

“And I’ll let you know what I’m working on right now to do even more to expand apprenticeships to reach more workers and more businesses across the country.

 

“But first, I want to share with you why I believe this is so important.

 

“Eight years ago, our country saw the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

 

“Since then, too many workers and families have been struggling to make ends meet on stagnant wages.

 

“We’ve made progress on steady job growth month after month, but youth unemployment and long-term unemployment remain high, even today.

 

“Over the past several years, we’ve had the opportunity to put some policies in place that have pulled our economy back from the brink, and we have started moving it in the right direction.

 

“But we’re not there yet.

 

“And that’s why in Congress, my top priority will continue to be helping our economy grow from the middle out, not the top down.

 

“Apprenticeships can provide a ladder of opportunity for more Americans to reach a stable middle class life.

 

“In 2014, Washington state studied the benefits of apprenticeships.

 

“Here’s what they found: workers who complete an apprenticeship program earn $300,000 more over their lifetime.

 

“That’s good for the economy.

 

“In fact, the general public gets a 23 to 1 return on investment for every dollar investing in a registered apprentice.

 

“So, for all of those reasons, I have been a strong supporter of apprenticeships.

 

“I know I’m not giving away any secrets when I say that too often, gridlock and dysfunction dominates here in Congress.

 

“But part of the reason I’ve been able to break through that gridlock is because this doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.

 

“In 2013, I fought to reach a bipartisan budget deal with Paul Ryan.

 

“It wasn’t the budget I would have written all on my own.

 

“But it prevented another Tea Party government shutdown.

 

“It restored critical investments in education, health care, research, and jobs. And it laid a foundation for continued bipartisan work.

 

“That budget agreement and the one that followed two years later, allowed me to fight for and secure $90 million in new apprenticeship funding last year.

 

“That $90 million investment will support competitive grants for states to take important steps, like increasing capacity to register and oversee apprenticeship programs and invest in innovation.

 

“The grant program also will allow new industries to launch apprenticeship models that are tailored to meet their unique needs.

 

“And it will help organizations reach underserved populations.

 

“So that investment is something I’m very excited about.

 

“I’m looking forward to hearing from Secretary Perez on how the Department is working on putting those investments to work.

 

“And as many of you know, in 2014, I worked with Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – also known as WIOA.

 

“In that law, we made clear that creating career pathways and apprenticeships go hand in hand.

 

“WIOA swung the door open for registered apprenticeship programs to be eligible for federal funding.

 

“And the law is designed to help get more job-seekers into apprenticeship programs so they can advance their skills.

 

“Of course, in the meantime, while Congress has taken some good steps forward, the Department of Labor has also been hard at work on these issues.

 

“In 2014, the Obama Administration started up the American Apprenticeship Grants program.

 

“And I want to take a moment to highlight one of those grantees from Washington state, because the work they are doing is truly groundbreaking.

 

“After receiving the DOL grant, the Washington Technology Industry Association launched the first ever registered IT apprenticeship program.

 

“And through that work, they will be able to recruit, train, and place workers in high-demand jobs in the tech sector and beyond.

 

“They will be connecting these workers with placements in companies like Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, and Costco.

 

“I heard from a representative from W-T-I-A just the other day.

 

“She said states from all over the country are calling her, excited about re-creating that model across the country.

 

“We know apprenticeship programs, like W-T-I-A’s, work.

 

“And that’s why I believe we need to do much more to expand access to registered apprenticeship programs.

 

“Here is one important step I want to take going forward.

 

“In 2014, I introduced a bill called the Promoting Apprenticeships for Credentials and Employment Act – the PACE Act for short.

 

“That bill would invest in apprenticeships and increase the number of skilled workers in growing sectors, like health care.

 

“That will not only help people find jobs now – it will also prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.

 

“I’m excited about the PACE Act, and I have been working hard to strengthen the legislation and gain strong bipartisan support in the Senate.

 

“I am very pleased that Senator Hatch of Utah has been working closely with me on it. 

 

“And we hope to move it through the HELP Committee in the near future.

 

“Now, and in the years to come, we need to continue to develop the most skilled, best educated workforce in the world.

 

“It will strengthen our economy.

 

“It will strengthen our middle class.

 

And it will strengthen the workforce we’ll need to compete in the 21st century global economy.

 

“Thank you again for the work you are doing around the country.

 

“And I’m going to continue to be your partner and advocate here in the Senate.

 

“It is now my pleasure to introduce your next speaker, Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez.

 

“Tom has been an outstanding leader at the Department of Labor.

 

“I’ve worked with him for a number of years, and I know that creating opportunities for working families is what gets him up in the morning.

 

“He’s been a champion for job training programs and apprenticeships.

 

“And he’s making sure people across the country have the opportunity to climb the ladder of success.

 

“Please welcome, Secretary Perez.”