Wicker Introduces Workforce Development Legislation

Proposal Builds on President Trump’s Apprenticeship Executive Order

September 20, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has introduced legislation aimed at bolstering apprenticeship programs, which help American workers develop the skills required to succeed in today’s economy. The measure would set into statute one of the goals outlined in President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to expand apprenticeships and improve job-training programs, which he issued in June.

“Apprenticeships are an important workforce development tool,” Wicker said. “These programs provide a unique opportunity for people to receive on-the-job training with experts in their field while they ‘earn as they learn.’ The purpose of my legislation is to streamline government bureaucracy, making it easier for employers to create an apprenticeship program or update an existing one. This should lead to giving American workers more options and opportunities to get an affordable education and a well-paying job.”

Specifically, S. 1841 would: 

  • Require the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) State Apprenticeship Agency to act on applications within 90 days after an application is submitted;
  • Forward the application to DOL if the State Apprenticeship Agency does not make a decision in the allotted time.  DOL would then have 30 days to make a final determination or the application will be automatically approved.

A study conducted by DOL shows that over 90 percent of apprentices find employment after completing their program, and their average starting wage is $60,000 annually. Further, graduates of apprenticeship programs see a $300,000 lifetime increase in earnings, without the burden of student loan debt.

The legislation is supported by the National Association of Home Builders, Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc., Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and the Plumbing – Heating – Cooling Contractors Association.