WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) applauded the passage of the bipartisan National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 (H.R. 447) through the House of Representatives. The legislation invests more than $3.5 billion to create nearly one million new Registered Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship positions over the next five years. Norcross is a lead sponsor and author of the bill along with House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03).
In addition to scaling up apprenticeship opportunities, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 will streamline access to apprenticeships for workers and employers and expand apprenticeships into new in-demand industry sectors and occupations.
“A registered apprenticeship program shaped my life – laying the foundation for me to go from the construction site to Congress,” said Congressman Norcross. “The bipartisan National Apprenticeship Act provides students and workers all over the country the ability to pursue apprenticeship opportunities by strengthening the proven and successful models developed by the Registered Apprenticeship Program – America’s most successful workforce program. Expanding access to apprenticeship opportunities will connect workers with stable, good-paying jobs as we continue to fight the pandemic and an economic crisis.”
According to the Department of Labor, 94 percent of apprentices who complete Registered Apprenticeships are employed upon completion, earning an average starting wage of above $70,000 annually. Yet, according to the most recent data, only 0.3 percent of the overall workforce in America have completed an apprenticeship.
The proposal’s historic investments in workforce training would not only benefit workers and their families but would save American taxpayers an estimated $10.6 billion in the form of increased tax revenues from higher worker pay and productivity and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.
Norcross added: “The Building Trades have created the ‘gold standard’ of the Registered Apprenticeship Program, and this legislation will expand that gold standard across all American industries. The National Apprenticeship Act is a vital investment in our most successful workforce training program where workers can earn while they learn, and I am pleased that five of my apprenticeship bills have been incorporated. Now, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation and aide our economic recovery by supporting American workers and their futures.”
The National Apprenticeship Act has been endorsed by the Congressional Building Trades Caucus and the House Labor Caucus, both of which were co-founded by Norcross. The legislation was also endorsed by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), which represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals.
“I first would like to commend the work of Chairman Scott and the bipartisan cosponsors of this legislation for their diligent efforts to maintain the integrity of the Registered Apprenticeship system, and their continued engagement with us on this bill, which reauthorizes the foundational law on which our apprenticeship programs are built,” NABTU President Sean McGarvey said in a letter. “While there are other avenues one may take to be trained in the construction crafts, for generations, the safest, most highly skilled and productive construction craft workers in the world have received their training through the Registered Apprenticeship system. H.R. 447, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, will ensure the Registered Apprenticeship system not only remains the gold standard in workforce training in the construction industry, but that it is accessible for all industries that seek a productive and highly skilled workforce.”
Five pieces of Norcross’ sponsored legislation were included in the House’s passage of the bill:
- Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act that Norcross introduced in 2019 alongside David McKinley (R-W.Va) and U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) establishes a new initiative to grow and expand highly successful Apprenticeship Hubs.
- 21st Century Energy Workforce Act that Norcross introduced in 2017 with Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) directs the Department of Energy to incentivize training for skilled energy industry jobs.
- Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunities Act that Norcross introduced in 2019 alongside Congressmen Bill Keating (D-MA) authorizes the Department of the Interior to award offshore wind career training grants to institutions of higher education and labor organizations to develop, offer or improve educational and career training programs that provide skills necessary for employment in the offshore wind industry.
- PATH Act that Norcross introduced in 2019 alongside Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) would provide grants to assist in the creation and sustenance of pre-apprenticeship programs that serve racial minorities, women, long-term unemployed individuals and people from impoverished census tracts.
- Fast Track Advanced Apprenticeships Now Act that Norcross introduced with Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ) would help fast track apprenticeships for emerging, 21st Century jobs by reducing red tape for occupations to be considered for apprenticeship programs. This would allow small and medium sized employers to more easily start a new apprenticeship program.
For a fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, click here.
For a section-by-section of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, click here.
For the bill text of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, click here.