U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Leads Legislation to Boost Apprenticeships in Wisconsin

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is reintroducing her legislation to invest in public-private partnerships, boost apprenticeship programs for workers and help close the skills gap in Wisconsin.

“In Wisconsin, I’ve seen how public-private partnerships can best address the workforce readiness challenges we face,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation will scale up our apprenticeship programs and provide more people with the skills they need to succeed. If we invest in public-private partnerships, we can boost workforce readiness and provide our businesses the skilled workers they need to grow our economy.”

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 is also being introduced by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Susan Davis (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY).

The PARTNERS Act is endorsed by United Way Worldwide, National Skills Coalition, Forging Industry Association, Precision Metalforming Association, FairShare CSA Coalition in Madison, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship in Hudson, Superior Die Set Corporation in Oak Creek, Green Bay Forge in Green Bay, A to Z RentAll and Sales in Madison, McFarlanes’ Retail Service Center in Sauk City, Scot Forge in Clinton, and Family Discovery International in Kenosha

“Our country needs to expand apprenticeship to help more businesses and working people get the skills to succeed in our economy,” said Katie Spiker, Senior Federal Policy Analyst at the National Skills Coalition. “This bill will target federal investments to the local level – bringing companies in the same industry together and helping them place motivated workers at waiting worksites. Workers will earn a paycheck while they learn valuable skills. Businesses will fill critical jobs. It's a win-win."

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.