U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces New Bipartisan Legislation to Boost Apprenticeships

EARNS Act would expand apprenticeship opportunities while supporting existing apprenticeship programs

There are more than 22,000 registered apprenticeships programs that provide workers with the skills they need to succeed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today helped introduce bipartisan legislation to strengthen our nation’s workforce and provide skilled jobs to workers through registered apprenticeships. The Effective Apprenticeships Rebuild National Skills (EARNS) Act, led by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), includes provisions from Senator Baldwin’s PARTNERS Act to promote and expand apprenticeship opportunities while supporting existing apprenticeship programs.

“In Wisconsin, I’ve heard from workers looking for more job training, and businesses facing a shortage of skilled workers,” said Senator Baldwin. “Registered apprenticeships are a proven way to provide workers with the skills they need to succeed and our businesses with the skilled workforce they need to grow our economy. This legislation will improve and expand our registered apprenticeship programs to boost workforce readiness and ensure Wisconsin businesses can compete globally.”

 “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,” said Senator Murray. “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 thank Senator Hatch for partnership and on this bill and I look forward to continue working with Senators Baldwin, Scott, and Kaine, and with workers, businesses, and advocates to build on this work to expand registered apprenticeships to serve more students, workers, and businesses across the country in the coming Congress.”

“Apprenticeship is an important tool in maintaining and growing our nation’s workforce to remain a leader in the world economy and I am proud it is part of my legislative legacy,” said Senator Hatch. “That is why I joined Senator Murray today – the last day of the 115th Congress – to introduce the EARNs Act which represents a first step in reforming and expanding registered apprenticeships. Over the past several years I have crisscrossed the country listening to the workforce development ideas of industry leaders representing small, mid-size and large companies. I’ve worked in a bipartisan manner to bring industry-led ideas to forefront of apprenticeship policy. The bill we introduced today reflects some of those ideas, but we have a way to go. I hope our work in this legislation will be built upon in the next Congress. In particular, I trust states and industry to lead this reform. As I depart the Senate, I have every confidence in this body forging the compromises necessary to facilitating programs that build our workforce and build our workers, apprenticeship sponsors and apprentices alike.”

There are now more than 22,000 registered apprenticeships programs across the nation, and over 150,000 employers are participating in over 1,000 occupations. This proven model of workforce training and development should be expanded in the information technology, finance, healthcare, insurance, information management fields and trades to support a strong and leading American workforce.

The EARNS Act focuses on providing greater clarification around the role of the Office of Apprenticeship and the National Advisory Committee, establishes in statute the quality standards that make apprenticeships the highest quality form of work-based learning in the country, and directs the $160 million Congress has appropriated for registered apprenticeships to support expansion of existing programs, creating new programs in nontraditional apprenticeship occupations, support for qualified intermediaries, and funding for youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Tim Scott (R-SC).