WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement following House passage of the reauthorization of the National Apprenticeship Act which would invest in increasing access to Registered Apprenticeships (RAs), codify and streamline existing standards that are vital to support RAs, and invest and expand the successful RA model to youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

“Our nation is in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and the economic hardships and inequities impacting jobless workers and families are continuing to worsen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many out of work, now is the time to invest in Registered Apprenticeships – some of the most successful workforce training programs in the country – which provide paid, on-the-job learning opportunities and a pathway to quality, family-sustaining jobs.

“The National Apprenticeship Act would invest more than $3.5 billion over five years to create nearly 1 million additional apprenticeship opportunities in existing and emerging industry sectors. Expanding access to apprenticeships ensures more workers have a pathway to stable, lifelong careers and accelerates our nation’s economic recovery. Additionally, I successfully included an amendment that would enable pre-apprenticeship programs to offer stipends to pre-apprentices to assist with the financial costs of participating in these programs such as housing, childcare, transportation, and more. This financial assistance will ensure both pre-apprenticeship programs and apprenticeship programs are more widely accessible for those who may face financial hardship.

“While workers and families continue to struggle with economic hardships amidst the pandemic, we must do all we can to help people obtain the education and skills needed to succeed and get through this crisis, and help build an economic recovery for a better future.”