Scott Introduces EARNS Act to Expand and Improve Apprenticeships to Help Workers, Businesses, and the Economy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the Effective Apprenticeships Rebuild National Skills (EARNS) Act to strengthen our nation’s workforce and provide skilled jobs to workers through registered apprenticeships along with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. There are now more than 22,000 registered apprenticeships programs across the nation, and over 150,000 employers are participating in over 1,000 occupations. This proven model of workforce training and development should be expanded in the information technology, finance, healthcare, insurance, information management fields and trades to support a strong and leading American workforce.

“Now more than ever before do we need a viable, skilled, and effective workforce equipped for our 21st century economy. The EARNS Act is essential to help make the American dream a reality for folks across the country by giving them the opportunity to train and get workforce experience while earning a living,” said Senator Tim Scott. “One of my main goals coming to Congress was to open doors and possibilities for Americans who have been overlooked for far too long. This is why I joined a bipartisan coalition of Senators looking to make a difference and ensure everyone has a fighting chance to succeed. I look forward to working with my colleagues next Congress to make this legislation as effective and as targeted as possible.”

“Apprenticeship is an important tool in maintaining and growing our nation’s workforce to remain a leader in the world economy and I am proud it is part of my legislative legacy,” Hatch said. “That is why I joined Senator Murray today – the last day of the 115th Congress – to introduce the EARNs Act which represents a first step in reforming and expanding registered apprenticeships. Over the past several years I have criss crossed the country listening to the workforce development ideas of industry leaders representing small, mid size and large companies. I’ve worked in a bipartisan manner to bring industry-led ideas to forefront of apprenticeship policy. The bill we introduced today reflects some of those ideas, but we have a way to go. I hope our work in this legislation will be built upon in the next Congress. In particular, I trust states and industry to lead this reform. As I depart the Senate, I have every confidence in this body forging the compromises necessary to facilitating programs that build our workforce and build our workers, apprenticeship sponsors and apprentices alike.”

“To ensure that our workforce can truly lead in the 21st century global economy, we need our students and workers to be prepared to compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs in industries across the economy,” said Senator Murray. “By strengthening and expanding registered apprenticeship programs, we can help workers get the training and experience they’ll need, while they are also earning a paycheck, and provide a ladder of opportunity to reach a stable middle class life. I thank Senator Hatch for partnership and on this bill and I look forward to continue working with Senators Baldwin, Scott, and Kaine, and with workers, businesses, and advocates to build on this work to expand registered apprenticeships to serve more students, workers, and businesses across the country in the coming Congress.”

The EARNS Act will promote and expand apprenticeship opportunities while supporting existing apprenticeship programs. This bill focuses on providing greater clarification around the role of the Office of Apprenticeship and the National Advisory Committee, establishes in statute the quality standards that make apprenticeships the highest quality form of work-based learning in the country, and directs the $160 million Congress has appropriated for registered apprenticeships to support expansion of existing programs, creating new programs in nontraditional apprenticeship occupations, support for qualified intermediaries, and funding for youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships.