Training America’s Workforce Act Introduced in the SenateApril 27th, 2023 by Travis Rains
Four U.S. senators reintroduced the Training America’s Workforce Act last week, a bill they say would make apprenticeships more responsive to industry workforce needs. For the door and window industries, that could mean more on-the-job training and classroom instruction to help take a bite out of workforce shortages.
U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) reintroduced the legislation last week. The bill was originally introduced in March 2022. According to a joint news release, the bill would help individuals obtain industry-specific skills. Additionally, completion of an industry-recognized apprenticeship program (IRAP) would come with an industry-recognized credential.
“Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their version of the American Dream,” says Scott. “Oftentimes, that doesn’t include attending a four-year college or university. In fact, quality apprenticeship programs can put young Americans on the path to a lifelong, good-paying job. Rather than imposing a heavy-handed, government-run program, our legislation seeks to expand industry-led workforce development initiatives to get qualified workers into well-paying jobs.”
The legislation would allow third-party, Department of Labor-recognized entities, such as “qualifying trade associations or institutions of higher education,” to recognize and perform oversight of industry-led apprenticeship programs developed by the private sector and other organizations. The bill instructs the Secretary of Labor to establish a process to recognize private and public sector entities as “standards recognition entities” within one year of the legislation’s enactment. That term pertains to entities that are marked by the Secretary of Labor for the purpose of recognizing apprenticeship programs as being industry-recognized.
Those entities would need to establish standards that show their programs would include paid work, on-the-job learning, mentorship, education and classroom instruction, a written training plan and apprenticeship agreement, and more. They would also be required to provide proof of an industry-recognized credential upon completion of programs.
Officials for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) applauded the bill’s reintroduction.
“The [NAHB] commends Senators Thune, Scott, Braun, and Tuberville for introducing the Training America’s Workforce Act to help address the persistent labor shortage that is facing the construction industry,” said NAHB chairperson Alicia Huey. “The legislation will help ease the housing affordability crisis by allowing the home building industry to expand its workforce training reach through IRAPs. With the addition of IRAPs to existing training options, this bill would provide the training and education needed to promote and advance a variety of careers in residential construction.”