U.S. Rep Mark Pocan
Press Release

Pocan Introduces Bill to Invest in Apprenticeships and Rebuild Workforce Skills

The LEARNS Act would increase the number of highly skilled workers in the United States and ensures the registered apprenticeship program is an effective earn-and-learn model for students, workers, and employers.

By - Jul 6th, 2016 02:59 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced the Leveraging Effective Apprenticeships to Rebuild National Skills (LEARNS) Act. The LEARNS Act would increase the number of highly skilled workers in the United States and ensures the registered apprenticeship program is an effective earn-and-learn model for students, workers, and employers.

“A highly skilled workforce is necessary to compete in today’s global economy,” Rep. Pocan said. “The LEARNS Act strengthens apprenticeship programs and helps prepare workers for careers in highly skilled professions. I am proud to introduce this legislation so we can continue building on the successes of the apprenticeship model and help workers secure good-paying jobs.”

“I’m proud to include legislation introduced by Rep. Pocan in the new Make It in America plan,” stated Whip Hoyer. “Last year, I was pleased he joined me during our ‘Make It In America: What’s Next’ hearing series to discuss how expanding apprenticeships can help workers obtain the necessary skills training to fill good-paying jobs. His bill – the LEARNS Act – would do just that, increasing the number of skilled workers in the U.S. and helping to close the skills gap. I look forward to working with him to advance this bill and other ideas included in the new Make It In America plan, and I thank him for his commitment to ensuring more of our workers can make it in America.”

“The Leveraging Effective Apprenticeships to Rebuild National Skills (LEARNS) Act will help ensure that young people and families all across the United States have access to the skills, job stability, and income that registered apprenticeship programs can provide,” said Congressman Bobby Scott, Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. “The legislation would also make more resources available to companies that want to start and continue registered apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships are one of the most direct pathways to good jobs and the LEARNS Act will extend the benefits of these programs to more Americans.”

Over the next decade, approximately 45 percent of all jobs will be in “middle-skill” occupations, which require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. The registered apprenticeship program is a vital element of training for these “middle skill” occupations and helps individuals contribute to their personal economic stability and an effective workforce.

The LEARNS Act will:

  • Support a closer alignment between registered apprenticeship programs, employers and other program sponsors offering good jobs,
  • Increase the attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials by program participants,
  • Create national standards for registered apprenticeship programs, and
  • Establish a permanent advisory council at the Department of Labor to oversee the actions and implementation of registered apprenticeship programs.

The legislation is currently cosponsored by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Conyers (D-MI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Honda (D-CA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Gwen S. Moore (D-WI), James Langevin (D-RI), Earl Blumenauer, (D-OR), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Ron Kind (D-WI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Gene Green (D-TX), and Pete Visclosky (D-IN).

The legislation is also supported by a variety of business, labor, education, and advocacy groups, including: North America’s Building Trades (NABTU), Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the Alliance for American Manufacturing, AFL-CIO, SEIU International, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), SEIU Healthcare Northwest Training Partnership, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), United Auto Workers (UAW), Rebuilding America’s Middle Class (RAMC), Jobs for the Future (JFF), Siemens, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Aspen Institute, and Young Invincibles.

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