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Foxx Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

In honor of National Apprenticeship Week, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) spoke on the House floor to offer solutions to improve our nation’s workforce development programs.

Republican Leader Foxx's remarks:

“This week, we celebrate the 8th Annual National Apprenticeship Week. It is the perfect time to reflect on what is and what isn’t working in our nation’s workforce development programs.

“There are more than 10 million unfilled jobs in this country and nearly six million unemployed individuals. There is clearly a crack in the education-to-workforce pipeline.

“The best way to address our country’s skills gap and worker shortage is to promote workforce development programs that actually work.

“I have been encouraged to see many businesses coming up with their own workforce development programs. Time and again, employer-led programs prove to produce the best results.  

“More industries are embracing apprenticeships as a solution for upskilling and re-skilling workers. As employers realize that baccalaureate degrees do not always prepare workers to fill needed roles, more alternative pathways will be needed. Many businesses are already removing unnecessary degree requirements and are instead replacing them with apprenticeship programs. This is a great development for our country and our workforce.

“Americans should not have to take out mountains of crushing student loan debt to study a subject that has nothing to do with their intended career, only to have to start from scratch once they enter the workforce.

“For too long, the college-for-all mentality has pushed young people into obtaining a baccalaureate degree regardless of their intended career. This mentality is slowly shifting, and our country will be better off for it.

“Now that more young people are turning to apprenticeships, it is important to ensure that there are high-quality programs available.

“We need apprenticeship programs that prepare workers for the open positions today, not the positions that were open yesterday. We need cutting-edge programs; one-size-fits-all, Washington-knows-best models are not the answer.

“While President Biden touts his support for apprenticeships, his cancellation of employer-led apprenticeship programs tells a different story. President Biden supports only apprenticeships he can control.

“Since terminating employer-led apprenticeship programs, the Biden administration has doubled down on support for the registered apprenticeship model.

“Because this system, founded in 1937, has not been substantially updated in eight decades, it is not easily adapted for innovative industries. Using this model to expand and modernize apprenticeships would be like starting out a journey on an already leaking ship. We can push as hard as we want, but in the end, the vessel can only take us so far before we sink.

“It's time for a new system—one with employers in the driver’s seat.

“Job creators know the tools workers need to be successful—Washington swamp dwellers, on the other hand, are clueless. Why the Biden administration believes bureaucrats in Washington are more equipped to run apprenticeship programs than those on the ground is beyond me.

“It is no surprise that the vast majority of successful and thriving apprenticeship programs are led by private industry. Take Kentucky FAME for example. The Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education is a partnership of regional manufacturers that creates a pipeline of highly skilled workers through earn-and-learn programs.

“By the time participants are done with this program, they will have an associate’s degree, an Advanced Manufacturing Technician credential, and years of work experience—all with no student loan debt. This organization operates in 12 states and has an 85 percent employment placement rate.

“This is an excellent workforce development model that other industries can learn from.

“The more employers embrace apprenticeships, the better off our economy will be.

“The best way for our workforce to thrive is for the federal government to get out of the way and for industry leaders to lead the way.

“So, for this National Apprenticeship Week let’s tell the Biden administration to stop putting special interests ahead of workers, let’s recommit ourselves to empowering job creators to provide their own solutions, and let’s support those job seekers who want an opportunity to learn and earn at the same time.” 
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