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National Apprenticeship Week: “... a viable and valuable path for American Workers."

Here at the Committee on Education and the Workforce, we are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week. Watch what Chairwoman Foxx had to say about the historic progress we have made this Congress strengthening the workforce and connecting students with the skills they need to build a successful life. 

Click here to watch the video online.

Remarks as delivered:

"Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is National Apprenticeship Week and a good time to celebrate the renewed attention that apprenticeships have received by the Committee on Education and the Workforce and this Administration.

"Apprenticeships are a centuries-old workforce development tool being referenced as far back as the Bible. Nothing can prepare a student quite like on-the-job experience, and apprenticeships are a tried-and-true method of preparing students to enter the workforce with the skills they need to succeed.

"We have a national skills gap of more than seven million unfilled jobs in the country, and for the seventh month running, the number of job openings has exceeded job seekers nationwide.

"A recent survey of U.S. employers showed that nearly half of all job creators struggle to hire employees with the right skills for the job, and for the sixth year running, skilled trade jobs continue to be the hardest positions to fill all over the world.

"Apprenticeships are a wonderful solution to closing the skills gap and strengthening the workforce. We at the Committee on Education and the Workforce recognize this, and we have worked hard this Congress to make skills-based education a viable and valuable path for American workers.

"Over the course of the 115th Congress, we have made historic progress strengthening our workforce development efforts. For the first time, the committee reported postsecondary reform legislation that promotes apprenticeships as key postsecondary education opportunities.

"The PROSPER Act would improve student access to and participation in industry-led earn-and-learn programs and apprenticeships to allow students to hone their skills in a hands-on environment.

"This summer, we sent major bipartisan CTE legislation to the President’s desk. The
Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was the first legislation in more than a decade to modernize our nation’s CTE programs. The law will create innovative community partnerships while connecting Americans with programs to grow their skills and land in-demand industry jobs.

"We have also continued to see the ongoing implementation of the
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

"WIOA gives employers a seat at the table and encourages collaboration between local leaders as they work to create on-the-job learning opportunities. In September, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development heard from witnesses about how the law supports the development of locally-based apprenticeship programs.

"The President has bolstered our efforts by listening to the needs of American workers. Since President Trump’s first month in office, American employers have hired over 400,000 apprentices. In June of last year, the President issued an Executive Order creating a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, and earlier this year, the White House developed the Pledge to America’s Workers.

"This groundbreaking initiative has resulted in over 160 companies and associations pledging jobs, education, and workforce development opportunities for more than 6 million American workers.

"We have made monumental strides over the course of the last two years, and we are continuing to look for innovative ways to connect effective education with in-demand jobs.

"Each of us knows a person with considerable gifts and talents who may not be suited for traditional postsecondary education. A baccalaureate degree is not the only pathway to a good-paying job. Apprenticeships are life-changing and can provide countless Americans with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve lifelong success.

"Thanks to the leadership of this body and the Administration, Americans have greater access than ever before to the opportunities they need to excel in the millions of good-paying, in-demand jobs available nationwide. I yield back."

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