Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that, following her push, the Omnibus spending bill signed by the President last year includes $90 million for a new Apprenticeship Grant program. The apprenticeship program will support grants to states in order to increase their capacity to register and oversee apprenticeship programs. The funding will be used to launch apprenticeship models, and for community-based organizations to help underserved populations and fund innovative programs.
“If we want our businesses to create new jobs and spur growth in our economy, we must make sure they have access to a well-trained, highly skilled workforce.” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Apprenticeship Grant will fund job training programs that will help to ensure workers are well-positioned to meet the needs of employers. The funding I pushed to secure in the Omnibus will help our businesses expand and put more New Yorkers to work.”
In March 2015, Senator Gillibrand wrote to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging the committee to secure funding for this program, in addition to other vital federal job training programs. The new Apprenticeship Grant program included will expand apprenticeships by supporting efforts to engage, recruit and connect under-represented populations with apprenticeship opportunities. Gillibrand fought to secure the funding in this Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus bill because approximately five million jobs in the U.S. will go unfilled because of limited postsecondary education and credentials.
Gillibrand also announced bipartisan legislation last year to address the skills gap employers face and enhance job training to help workers develop the skills they need for good-paying, high-demand jobs. The Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act of 2015 would create a $5,000 tax credit for employers that use apprenticeship programs to train workers in high-demand professions such as health care, manufacturing and technology. The bill also would allow veterans in apprenticeships to get credit for previous military training and experience, as well as incentivize mentoring of apprentices by senior employees.
Apprenticeship programs benefit both the employer and the employee, and 9 in 10 people who complete apprenticeships are employed, with apprenticeship completers having an average starting wage of over $50,000 a year and earning on average $300,000 more in lifetime wages than those with similar backgrounds who don’t according to a 2012 study by Mathematica Policy Research.
The letter Senator Gillibrand joined her colleagues in sending to the Senate Appropriations Committee is included below.
Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray:
As you develop the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations bill for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, we urge you to ensure that the final bill includes adequate investments in job training and adult education programs so that U.S. workers and businesses have access to the skills they need to grow the economy and maintain our nation’s competitive edge.
Under current estimates, approximately five million jobs in the U.S. will go unfilled because too many workers lack the necessary postsecondary education and credentials to fill these positions. Expanding access to job training and postsecondary and adult education programs is imperative to ensuring that all workers can obtain the skills and credentials required to get and keep well-paying jobs.
Last year, Congress demonstrated broad bipartisan support for training and skills by passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The law outlines a vision for a more demand-driven workforce system that is responsive to the needs of employers and can more effectively help workers access middle-skill jobs and credentials. WIOA’s passage alone however, will not effectuate change. We must equip states and localities with the resources they need to fully realize Congress’s vision for the law.
We must also build on initiatives the President has put forward that develop and strengthen the American workforce. In the administration’s FY16 budget request, the President proposed an American Technical Training Fund (ATTF) that would build off of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants. This fund would support up to 100 partnerships at community colleges and other institutions, relying on strong employer partnerships to help low-wage workers move into middle-skill jobs. In addition, the President proposed an Apprenticeship Grants program that would expand apprenticeships by supporting efforts to engage, recruit, and connect under-represented populations with apprenticeship opportunities.
In order to enhance the skills of the U.S. workforce, we urge you to:
- Fund WIOA Title I (job training) programs – including state formula grants under Title I-B (youth programs, adult programs and dislocated worker programs) and Title II (adult education) programs at their authorized levels.
- Fund WIOA Title III (Wagner-Peyser Employment Service) programs at the level sought in the President’s FY16 budget request.
- Fund the two new initiatives included in the President’s FY16 budget request: $200 million for the American Technical Training Fund and $100 million for the Apprenticeship Grants program.
Thank you for your attention to these critical programs and initiatives. We look forward to working with you to ensure that our investments in the U.S. workforce are sufficient to meet the needs of America’s workers and businesses.
United States Senator