Registered Apprenticeships ‘Are The Foundation America Needs’
The Hill Editor’s Note: U.S. Representative Donald Norcross represents New Jersey’s 1st District and is a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor. The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.
Growing up, I enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together to understand how they work.
I loved to work with my hands, so while my three brothers decided to attend traditional four-year colleges, I chose the other four-year school - a Registered Apprenticeship Program.
My Apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) laid the foundation for me to go from the construction site to Congress.
It allowed me to earn-while-I-learned and set me on a path toward a fulfilling, family-sustaining career.
Our country needs a well-trained workforce to help fill the jobs of the future and Apprenticeships are critical to our success as we continue to recover from the devastating impact of the Coronavirus.
We need Electricians and computer programmers, just like we need doctors and lawyers.
It’s more important now than ever that we understand education is not “one size fits all.”
When my children were growing up, I didn’t know if they’d want to go to college, build the college or defend it.
We must promote Job Training Programs and Apprenticeships in the same way we promote traditional four-year colleges - because without these highly-skilled Workers, our economy cannot recover.
I worked closely with House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (Democrat-Virginia) to pass the bipartisan National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 (NAA) to provide students and Workers all over the country the ability to pursue Apprenticeship opportunities.
This legislation strengthens the proven models developed by the Registered Apprenticeship Program - America’s most successful Workforce Program - and will create and expand Registered Apprenticeships, Youth Apprenticeships and Pre-Apprenticeship Programs.
Expanding access to these opportunities will connect Workers all over the country with stable, good-paying jobs as we continue to fight the pandemic and an economic crisis.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 94% 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% of the overall workforce in America have completed an Apprenticeship.
That needs to change.
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