November 20, 2020
Press Release
Bill co-authored by Rep. Morelle seeks to encourage participation in apprenticeships, creating more job opportunities and strengthening national economy

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Joe Morelle announced that today, the House of Representatives voted to pass legislation he authored with Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) to bolster access to apprenticeships across America.

"Now more than ever, with millions of Americans out of work, we need solutions that equip workers with the tools, skills, and stability to provide for themselves and their families," said Congressman Joe Morelle. "That's why I am so proud that the work Rep. Trahan and I partnered on to make apprenticeships more accessible, increase job opportunities, and reduce the barriers small businesses face finding workers has made it into the National Apprenticeships Act of 2020." 

“At a time when as many as 7 million jobs could be permanently lost and workers continue to be in need of reliable pathways to quality employment, passage of this legislation to expand access to apprenticeships couldn’t be more important,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan. “The inclusion of Congressman Morelle’s and my legislation to incentivize participation by small businesses and their workers in registered apprenticeships is absolutely necessary to limit the devastating impact this pandemic has had on the smallest of our small businesses, many of which are family-owned. It’s my hope that the Senate recognizes the urgency in making this legislation law and takes it up without delay.”

The legislation written by Rep. Morelle and Rep. Trahan, H.R. 8317, was passed in the House of Representatives as part of the National Apprenticeships Act of 2020. Rep. Morelle and Rep. Trahan both sit on the Education and Labor Committee, where the legislation originated. Additionally, as a member of the Committee on Rules, Rep. Morelle led the debate for the rule on the house floor for the National Apprenticeships Act of 2020.

Specifically, their bill seeks to encourage participation in apprenticeships by lowering the up-front costs that small- and medium-sized businesses face getting these programs off the ground. If signed into law, this grant funding could be used for: 

  • The creation or expansion of an apprenticeship program;
  • Incumbent worker training as mentors or employees supervising apprentices;
  • Wages for apprentices; and
  • Technical assistance related to apprenticeships for small and medium-sized businesses.

These grant dollars would also prioritize apprenticeship opportunities for women, minorities, veterans, and Americans living with disabilities.

“With job placement at 94 percent, starting wages above $70,000 annually, and the reduced reliability on safety net programs, apprenticeship programs are a proven investment,” added Congressman Morelle. “I am so proud to have helped craft this legislation and I urge our colleges in the U.S. Senate to join us in its swift passage.”

The full text to Rep. Morelle and Rep. Trahan’s legislation can be found here.

More information on the National Apprenticeships Act of 2020 can be found here.