Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives led by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the National Apprenticeship Act of 2023. The bill seeks to increase funding for Registered Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship programs in hopes of creating one million new programs over the next five years.
This is not the first time that Congress has sought to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act, which was first passed in 1937 and has not been reauthorized since. Last Congress, the House passed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 – a nearly identical bill to the 2023 edition – with a bipartisan vote of 247-173, but the bill did not pass the Senate.
As described by the office of Ranking Member Scott, key provisions in the 2023 National Apprenticeship Act include:
- Authorizes $400 million for fiscal year (FY) 2025, increasing by $100 million annually to $800 million for FY 2029;
- 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 DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship;
- Codifies the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs); and
- Strengthens the connections between the Department of Education and DOL through an interagency agreement to support the creation and expansion of youth apprenticeships, college consortiums, and data sharing agreements.