Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bicameral Bill to Support Apprenticeship Colleges

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) reintroduced the bipartisan Supporting Apprenticeship Colleges Act of 2023 to help increase enrollment in apprenticeship programs.

The legislation would provide grant funding to help apprenticeship colleges expand outreach to potential students and employers, improve academic advising programs and address common barriers to degree completion like childcare access and support for first-generation students. Apprenticeship colleges are institutions of higher education that sponsor registered apprenticeship programs.

“Apprenticeship programsare a proven and effective way to prepare students for the working world, connect them to good-paying jobs and in-demand careers,” said Senator Smith. “This bill will help support Apprenticeship Colleges and make them more accessible for students. Supporting a well-trained workforce is a win for students, employers and the economy.”

Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN) and Pete Stauber (R-MN) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“I’m working to create good-paying careers for Minnesotans and ensure every young person knows that they have the opportunity to succeed,” said Rep. Craig. “Our state is strong when our workforce is strong, and that’s why I’m working across the aisle with Rep. Stauber to give more students and employers the hands-on support they need.”

“Our rural economy in northern Minnesota is dependent on skilled trade workers. I’m pleased to reintroduce the Supporting Apprenticeship Colleges Act along with Representative Craig to help combat the shortage of these workers. Apprenticeships are key for hands-on learning opportunities and institutions like the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest provide crucial workforce pipelines. They stand to benefit from the competitive grant programs in the bill, while putting them on equal footing with other postsecondary education options. I’m happy to work on this bipartisan bill to enhance our economy and help our middle class thrive,” said Representative Stauber.

“The IUPAT supports the 2023 Supporting Accredited Apprenticeship Colleges Act. Registered apprenticeship programs, like ours, have always been an important step on the path to the middle class. Expanding access to be able to achieve both a skilled trade and an Associate’s Degree can only benefit workers and their communities. I look forward to this bill advancing through Congress with bipartisan support,” said International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) General President Jim Williams, Jr.

Click here to read more on the Supporting Apprenticeship Colleges Act of 2023.