Augusta Free Press: Spanberger spearheads bill to strengthen apprenticeship opportunities

AUGUSTA FREE PRESS

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) co-led the introduction of bipartisan legislation to support youth apprenticeship programs in Central Virginia and across the country.

Spanberger helped introduce the Strengthening Our Youth Apprenticeships Act, which would create a new interagency apprenticeship agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education. Through this collaboration, both departments would share publicly available guidance and best practices to support youth apprenticeship programs in both secondary and postsecondary education institutions.

Spanberger led the introduction of the bipartisan bill alongside Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY-02).

“Across Virginia, local apprenticeships provide opportunities for the next generation to learn the skills necessary to secure high-skilled jobs and stay competitive in a global economy. As we work toward our long-term economic recovery, we need to make sure high school and college students are able to access these programs,” said Spanberger. “Our federal agencies should work together toward achieving this goal, and our bipartisan legislation builds much-needed collaboration between the Department of Labor and the Department of Education. I’d like to thank Congressman Castro and Congressman Guthrie for recognizing the importance of strengthening youth apprenticeship programs, and I look forward to building stronger, sustained relationships between community colleges, high schools, and local businesses.”

“Apprenticeships are an important avenue for young people to gain new skills and get a sense of what job they may pursue, but they should also be an opportunity to gain college credit and a steppingstone to a higher-paying career. The Strengthening Our Youth Apprenticeships Act will help ensure that we build a strong infrastructure of opportunity in America for the next generation to reach their dreams,” said Castro. “The future of our economy depends on our future workforce — that’s why it’s vital for the Department of Labor and Education to work together to strengthen apprenticeships and for Congress to expand these programs to more young people.”

“Apprenticeships are a great way for employees to learn a new skill while earning a wage, and for students, an apprenticeship can set them on the right trajectory for a good career,” said Guthrie. “Our economy is rapidly evolving, and one thing I hear from employers in the Second District is that they need skilled employees. The Strengthening Our Youth Apprenticeship Act will help facilitate the creation of apprenticeship programs for younger employees and provide supportive services such as career planning.  I was proud to join Reps. Castro and Spanberger to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help high school and college students obtain apprenticeship opportunities.”

Additionally, the bill would fund a necessary expansion of recognized apprenticeship programs — including partnerships between community colleges and local businesses.

The Strengthening Our Youth Apprenticeships Act is endorsed by New America, Advance Career Technical Education, and the Association for Career and Technical Education.

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