Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) voted to pass the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020—a crucial piece of legislation which will provide much-needed educational and employment opportunities. The bill invests more than $3.5 billion over five years to expand access to high-quality registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship programs.
“Investment in workforce training and apprenticeship programs is crucial, especially when a record number of Americans are looking to retrain and enter new job sectors. This legislation will provide much-needed opportunities to communities who have been hurting the most, particularly our veterans and servicemembers,” said Rep. Cisneros. “I’m proud to pass the National Apprenticeship Act and provide opportunity and relief for workers and businesses alike. Expanding employment opportunities will strengthen our economy and the 39th District.”
The bill is estimated to provide nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities at a time when nearly 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) have historically been America’s most successful federally authorized workforce development program, with 94 percent of people who complete RA programs employed upon completion. The average starting wage for those who complete RA programs is $70,000, proof that RA programs provide access to quality employment opportunities for those looking to increase their knowledge in their field of work or pivot to new workforce opportunities.
The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 does the following:
- Supports the creation or expansion of registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeship programs.
- Encourages employer participation and recruitment for individuals with barriers to employment, such as veterans and servicemembers.
- Streamlines standards for registered apprenticeships, ensuring consistency in quality standards and workers protections.
- Strengthens equal opportunity provisions to increase diversity in occupations offered and the individuals participating in programs.
- Provides $115 million funding for State Apprenticeship Offices and SAAs, codifying their roles and responsibilities.
The bill has strong support from trade unions, and Cal State Fullerton offers apprenticeship programs to current students and graduates.
Rep. Cisneros has championed additional provisions such as the Expanding Opportunity through Pre-Apprenticeship Act (H.R. 8339) which expands participation in pre-apprenticeship programs for underrepresented populations and individuals including youth, women, people of color, long-term unemployed, individuals with disabilities, individuals with substance abuse issues, individuals impacted by the criminal justice system, and veterans. This bill lowers the barrier for entry into apprenticeship programs by providing funding for childcare, transportation, and earning during pre-apprenticeship programs.
Earlier this year, the House passed the CARES Act, a historical stimulus package that provided over $1 billion of relief to students, small businesses, and all sectors of the economy that have struggled as a result of the pandemic.
Rep. Cisneros voted by proxy.
This article was released by the Office of Representative Gil Cisneros.