Press Releases

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.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) successfully included an amendment to the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 that would allow pre-apprenticeship programs to use grant funds under the legislation to provide stipends for participants to cover certain out-of-pocket costs such as housing, transportation, and childcare.

“With persistent inequities in our society and a struggling economy further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must do more to help people obtain the education and skills they need to succeed,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “Rep. Langevin and I have heard from pre-apprenticeship programs in our districts that some of the biggest barriers people face entering and completing these programs are the costs to cover living expenses and fees associated with the programs themselves. This amendment would help pre-apprenticeship programs remove those barriers for students so they can obtain the initial credentials they need to enter an apprenticeship program and put them on a pathway to quality, high-paying jobs.”

“Pre-apprenticeship programs are valuable training opportunities that serve as the starting point of rewarding careers, and they are even more critical as we wrestle with the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus. “I’m joining Chairman Smith to advance legislation to provide financial support for out-of-pocket costs for hard-working Americans participating in these programs because it will help them advance and help the nation meet the growing demand for highly skilled workers. This legislation underpins the ‘earn and learn’ approach that will prepare workers in areas ranging from advanced manufacturing to healthcare for success in a 21st century economy.”

This amendment that passed today was based on legislation recently introduced by Smith and Langevin, The Pre-Apprenticeship Wrap-around Support Services Fund Act of 2020. This legislation would establish a new grant program at the Department of Labor which would provide funding for pre-apprenticeship programs to use for direct support to pre-apprentices. Unlike most apprenticeship programs, pre-apprenticeship programs are usually unable to provide income support during the program. By allowing pre-apprenticeship programs to put grant funds towards stipends, it will help ensure equitable access and increased retention and completion of these programs.

Further, pre-apprenticeships will help students who have missed school time, especially those who have not been able to engage in in-person Career Technical Education (CTE) lab time, due to the pandemic. In an effort to prevent further spread of the virus, many facilities have had to close and thus limited access to hands-on experiences and training. Pre-apprenticeships will help bridge the knowledge gap and provide extra support to make up for lost learning time.

Text of the Amendment to H.R. 8294, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, can be found here and text of the Pre-Apprenticeship Wrap-around Support Services Fund Act of 2020 can be found here.

Statements of Support:

Karen Dove, Executive Director of ANEW:

“On average, each client needs about $1,000 of support service funding to be able to complete our 11-week training program. In return, they receive four industry recognized certificates, and are ready to enter apprenticeship with their driver’s license and GED or diploma. This funding is critical to ensure those who are most in need are able to complete the program and transition to a family wage career.”

Shoshana Wineburg, MSW, Director of Public Policy & Communications, YouthCare:

“YouthCare is thrilled to support Congressman Smith's Amendment to H.R. 8294 to provide stipends for young people engaged in pre-apprenticeship programs. YouthCare is one of the largest organizations in Washington State serving youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. We know that safe housing is key to stability, but access to education and employment are key to maintaining that stability over time. Pre-apprenticeships play a significant role in helping young people build employment skills and create pathways to careers. Unfortunately, those pathways are often derailed because of cost barriers associated with housing, transportation, or childcare—which is exactly why this amendment is so important and why we’re so excited to support it.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after speaking with Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller regarding the White House direction to the Department of Defense to drawdown U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan to 2,500 by January 15, 2021.

“After speaking with the Acting Secretary this morning, I believe reducing our forward deployed footprint in Afghanistan down to 2,500 troops is the right policy decision. At the same time, this reduction must be responsibly and carefully executed to ensure stability in the region.

“While the history of conflict in the region is complex and predates our direct involvement, after nearly 20 years of armed conflict, Americans and Afghans alike are ready for the violence to end. It is clear that groups like ISIS-K and the Taliban will continue to fight and sow chaos, but ultimately it is up to the Afghans to find a sustainable path to peace.

“Our primary goal has been, and continues to be, the prevention of transnational terrorists from launching an attack against the United States from Afghanistan. In order to contain the terrorist threat as we draw down our troop levels, it is critical that we coordinate the drawdown closely with our allies, as well as our partners in the Afghan government, to protect our interests and those of our allies in Afghanistan.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the 911 Diversion to Unarmed Personnel Act, which would provide funding for unarmed 911 response programs that divert nonviolent 911 calls to specialized service providers instead of law enforcement.

“It’s abundantly clear that we need to fundamentally reimagine what law enforcement looks like in our country,” said Rep. Smith. “A critical step in this process of addressing systemic racism and restructuring law enforcement is reexamining the hyperactive approach to policing that tasks law enforcement officers with responding to situations they are neither trained nor equipped to handle.

“The 911 Diversion to Unarmed Personnel Act would support programs that enable 911 call dispatchers to direct nonviolent calls toward unarmed responders who can connect people with the services and care they need. Community-based public safety programs across the country have shown incredible success in responding to nonviolent 911 calls with specialized service providers, like social workers, medical professionals, and restorative justice practitioners. These programs reduce violent and hostile encounters, help restore trust between law enforcement and community members, and provide for better services and care to community members. 

“Our communities deserve an emergency response system that recognizes the range of urgent needs that are best addressed without police involvement. Unarmed 911 response programs are a critical component to reimagine public safety in a holistic, equitable way that centers on getting individuals the resources and services they need.”

911 receives more than 240 million calls every year. The overwhelming majority of these calls involve nonviolent, non-criminal incidents such as neighbor disputes, nuisance complaints, truancy, reports of “suspicious” activity, requests for wellness checks, and mental health crises. Both the police and policing reform advocates often assert that specialized service providers—such as social workers, paramedics, and peer support counselors—are better equipped to handle such situations than armed officers. The “send the police to everything” approach that prevails in much of our country often places armed law enforcement officers in situations they are neither equipped nor trained to handle and leads to encounters between police and civilians that turn violent and, in many cases, deadly.

The 911 Diversion to Unarmed Personnel Act would provide funding to state, local, or tribal jurisdictions to support unarmed 911 response programs that divert nonviolent 911 calls toward specialized service providers and away from traditional law enforcement. The funding may be used to hire and train service professionals and 911 dispatchers, modify existing 911 call systems, or obtain necessary equipment and technological capabilities.

The bill requires that the programs are managed independently from and are not subject to oversight from state or local law enforcement agencies. These diversion programs will help ensure that individuals who are the subject of calls to 911 and who are experiencing addiction, homelessness, or mental health crises are met with professional service providers capable of providing screening, assessment, de-escalation, and transportation to immediately necessary treatment.

Text of the 911 Diversion to Unarmed Personnel Act can be found here and a one-page summary of the bill is available here.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the Emergency Economic and Workforce System Resiliency Act, which would provide new funding to states and localities to prevent layoffs, meet the needs of dislocated workers, and collaborate with employers on innovative strategies for preserving existing and creating new jobs.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers have been laid off and displaced. This disruption in the labor market has only further highlighted the need for an updated workforce training system that coordinates across public and private sectors and better prepares our workers for the changing job market,” said Rep. Smith. “The current systems in place meant to prepare workers and spur economic development are siloed from each other – economic development activities are often completely separate from programs that provide unemployment and other benefits to unemployed or underemployed workers.

“Whether it is growing automation and technological advancements or the transition to a green economy, there will inevitably be changes to our workforce needs. We must ensure that our workforce system can prepare workers for these transitions. This bill would provide desperately needed funding to states and localities over the next five years to help prevent layoffs, support workers in vulnerable jobs as they prepare to transition, and financially support workers during transition. It would provide resources to develop training, retraining, and other programs to help workers gain the skills and credentials they need to obtain and keep high quality jobs in in-demand fields with family-sustaining wages and benefits.”

The Emergency Economic and Workforce System Resiliency Act creates a five-year funding stream to states and localities to invest in new programs to prevent layoffs, meet the needs of displaced workers, and strengthen the viability of employers to preserve existing jobs and create new ones. This funding would help states meet the exacerbated needs of the workforce system during the pandemic and economic downturn and would be a model going forward as new and unexpected disruptions impact workers.

The bill encourages states to collaborate across state agencies and with other non-profit and for-profit entities. States are encouraged to prioritize partnerships with firms and industries that offer high quality, in-demand jobs with competitive wages and benefits.

The bill also funds five-year pilot programs for states to pilot innovative workforce-system-wide layoff aversion models. These grants will promote innovation at the state level to support workers throughout the career lifecycle and to bolster firm resiliency in the wake of economic disruption.

Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director of the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board:

“I am struck by the potential long-range impact inherent in this bill. It is rare to see federal legislation that addresses the issues of the here and now, while also supporting transformative investments for future impact. While this bill would provide significant new resources to help displaced workers prepare for high-demand, high-wage employment, it will also enable states to learn from the pandemic and re-engineer public systems for the future—to better support businesses, workers, and communities for economic resilience. I so appreciate the bill’s aim towards shared prosperity and equitable and inclusive economic recovery. The bill also shows a solid understanding of how globalization, technology, environmental, and security issues are inducing tremendous changes to work and workplaces—and supports states to face these critical challenges to our economic vitality.”

Olivia Golden, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP):

“The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is pleased to endorse the Emergency Economic Adjustment Assistance and Workforce System Resiliency Act which offers critical supports for navigating the recession and includes actionable workforce interventions for states and localities. CLASP applauds this bill’s prioritization of populations that have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic, including people of color, justice impacted youth and adults, immigrants, displaced workers and others facing systemic barriers to employment.”