Senator Cory Booker and Senator Tim Scott Introduce Apprenticeship Legislation to Tackle Skills Gap, Address Youth Unemployment
Bill works to encourage skills trainingApril 9, 2014
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) today introduced The Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs (LEAP) Act, which provides a tax credit to employers to help increase the number of registered apprenticeships in the U.S. to put more people to work and help fill the 4 million job vacancies across the United States.
Many employers explain the reason for their unfilled jobs as a lack of available trained workers. Apprenticeships are a proven way to help people develop in-demand skills and to meet the needs of employers, yet they compose just 0.2 percent of the nation’s workforce. By 2020, the United States is expected to experience a shortage of 3 million workers with associate degrees or higher and 5 million workers with technical certificates and credentials.
At the same time, 16 percent of 16-24 year olds in the U.S. today are unemployed. The numbers are far worse among youth of color and for those without college degrees. Apprenticeships can help fill this gap.
“Our competitiveness and economic strength depend upon our commitment to developing a 21st century workforce,” Senator Booker said. “I’m thrilled to join with Senator Scott in putting forward this bipartisan, private sector-driven legislation that can create more career opportunities, especially for our young people. The LEAP Act will motivate employers to invest further in our workforce and help expand the economic recovery by tackling unacceptably high youth unemployment.”
“In South Carolina we’ve been able to develop an effective apprenticeship program, one built on public-private partnerships for students along with a tax credit for job creators,” Senator Scott said. “Because of our balanced approach, we have seen international companies like Boeing and BMW, as well as many smaller businesses across the state, begin to use the program and provide new employment opportunities for individuals. I am pleased to work with Senator Booker on this important piece of legislation because the LEAP Act will build on South Carolina’s already successful model at the federal level.”
Key pieces of the LEAP Act include:
- Offering a federal tax credit for hiring new apprentices that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor or a state apprenticeship agency.
- Addressing the fact that the average age of apprentices is currently as high as 29 by offering a tax credit of $1,500 for apprentices under 25. The tax credit for apprentices over 25 is $1,000.
- Being fully paid for through an offset: cutting printing waste by barring the federal government from producing publications that are available online with an exception for seniors, Medicare recipients and in communities with limited internet access.
The U.S had just 358,000 active, registered apprenticeships in 2012. By contrast, that’s 7 percent of what England offered when adjusted for population, and in Germany nearly 50 percent of all young people go through apprenticeship programs.
Studies show that apprenticeships are a wise investment for both participants and the U.S. government: individuals who complete registered apprenticeship programs earn over $240,000 more over their careers than people who did not participate in such programs, and the tax return on every Federal Government dollar invested in registered apprenticeship programs is $27.