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Democrats Miss Opportunity to Expand Apprenticeship Programs. Why?

According to a 2018 survey of U.S. employers, nearly half of all job creators struggle to hire employees with the right skills for the job, which has led to seven million unfilled positions throughout the country and a substantial skills gap that plagues our workforce. Fortunately, we know that skills-based education, like apprenticeships, are proven to help address the growing skills gap we currently face.

That is why two weeks ago during a Committee markup of the Democrats’ College #unAffordability Act, Committee Republicans offered commonsense amendments that would increase access to life-changing apprenticeship programs for students. What did Democrats do?

  • Democrats blocked an amendment to authorize an apprenticeship grant program to support institutions and businesses in the development and operation of earn-and-learn programs.
  • Democrats blocked an amendment to enhance the ability of institutions to collaborate with industry to create earn-and-learn opportunities for our nation’s students.
  • Democrats blocked an amendment to ensure that the postsecondary education system further engages employers, specifically by adding business representation to accrediting agency boards.
  • Democrats blocked an amendment that would allow innovative institutions to be full partners with traditional colleges and universities, enabling students to receive educational programming from an employer in an in-demand field.

The United States is currently experiencing an economic boom, boasting the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, however, the disconnect between business and education communities has presented us with a challenge we must address. Unfortunately, Committee Democrats refused to join Republican Members and enact commonsense solutions.

This week we celebrate the 5th anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week and the important role apprenticeships play in connecting students with the skills they need to build a successful life. As leaders in business and education gather to showcase the positive impact apprenticeship programs have on addressing the U.S. skills gap and strengthening the American workforce, Republicans on the Education and Labor Committee remain committed to expanding these “earn-while-you-learn” opportunities nationwide.

To learn more about the National Apprenticeship Week, click here