Scott, Booker Introduce Bill to Champion Apprenticeships

LEAP Act helps young adults, those transitioning careers to earn while they learn

Washington – Continuing their work to tackle the skills gap and youth unemployment, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) today announced the reintroduction of their Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs (LEAP) Act. Sen. Scott discussed the bill, which provides a tax credit to employers to help increase the number of registered apprenticeships nationwide, at today’s Opportunity Nation Summit on Capitol Hill.

Many employers explain the reason for their unfilled jobs as a lack of available trained workers. Apprenticeships are a proven way to help people develop in-demand skills and to meet the needs of employers, yet they compose just 0.2 percent of the nation’s workforce. By 2020, the United States is expected to experience a shortage of 3 million workers with associate degrees or higher and 5 million workers with technical certificates and credentials.  

“Apprenticeships allow folks to earn while they learn, providing a level of job certainty for the present and opening new doors in the future,” Senator Scott said. “We can also better sync the needs of employers with the skills of our workforce – a concept that has seen amazing results in South Carolina. In fact, that’s why the LEAP Act builds on the apprenticeship model we use in South Carolina, and seeks to bring that success to the entire nation. I want to thank Senator Booker for again joining forces on this important bill.”

“Apprenticeships are a proven, cost-effective way to equip workers -- especially younger workers -- with on-the-job skills they need to find a good-paying job in today's knowledge-based economy," Sen. Booker said. “I'm proud to again join with Senator Scott to reintroduce our bill to incentivize employers to make key investments in workforce development while tackling our unacceptably high youth unemployment rate."


 

Key pieces of the LEAP Act include:

  • Offering a federal tax credit for hiring new apprentices that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor or a state apprenticeship agency.
  • Addressing the fact that the average age of apprentices is currently as high as 29 by offering a reduced tax credit of $1,500 for apprentices over 25. The tax credit for apprentices under 25 is $1,500.
  • Being fully paid for through an offset: cutting printing waste by barring the federal government from producing publications that are available online with an exception for seniors, Medicare recipients and in communities with limited internet access.

In 2016 in the U.S. there were approximately 505,000 active apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs. By contrast, in Germany nearly 50 percent of all young people go through apprenticeship programs.

Studies show that apprenticeships are a wise investment for both participants and the U.S. government: individuals who complete registered apprenticeship programs earn over $240,000 more over their careers than people who did not participate in such programs, and the tax return on every Federal Government dollar invested in registered apprenticeship programs is $27.

A fact sheet is available here.