U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Highlights Legislation to Boost Apprenticeships in Oak Creek

Baldwin legislation to invest in public-private partnerships to close skills gap

OAK CREEK, WI – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin hosted a roundtable discussion on apprenticeships with local businesses, workforce readiness leaders, labor and workers at PPG in Oak Creek to highlight her legislation that would invest in public-private partnerships, boost apprenticeship programs, and help close the skills gap.  

“In Wisconsin, I’ve seen how public-private partnerships can best address the workforce readiness challenges we face. 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,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation will scale up our apprenticeship programs and help close the skills gap. When we bring businesses and technical colleges together we can train people for a career rather than just a job.

Senator Baldwin was joined by Oak Creek Mayor Dan Bukiewicz; Mark Kessenich, President/CEO of WRTP/BIG STEP; Willie Wade from Employ Milwaukee; Dr. Vicki Martin, President of Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC); and representatives from WRTP/BIG STEP, Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Community Advocates, and local businesses.

The Promoting Apprenticeships through Regional Training Networks for Employers’ Required Skills (PARTNERS) Act would establish a grant program to support the creation and expansion of industry and sector partnerships to help small and medium sized businesses develop work-based learning programs and provide mentoring and support services for workers. A bipartisan House version of this legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA).

Businesses—especially small and medium-sized businesses—often lack the infrastructure to establish apprenticeships or work-based learning programs on their own. Senator Baldwin’s legislation would address this challenge by establishing a program to provide states with grants that will help create or expand local public-private partnership apprenticeship initiatives.

With the PARTNERS Act, states would submit applications to the Secretary of Labor for local initiatives to start or expand apprenticeship programs. The state would then provide grants of up to $500,000 for two years to local public-private partnerships to bring industry and education partners together to start and run work-based training programs, as well as worker support services that help businesses develop apprenticeship initiatives.

More information on the PARTNERS Act is available here.