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Bill Would Give Apprentices College Credit

The Senate is considering a few bills to strengthen apprenticeship programs

Brian Young's picture
Jun 28, 2021

A new bill in the United States Senate seeks to help people in apprenticeship programs get college credit for their work.

The bill, called the Apprenticeships to College Act, was introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) and Jerry Moran (R-KS). It would allow workers who complete an apprenticeship program to get the requisite college credits for their time. To do this, the bill would codify the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium, which is a network of colleges and businesses that have registered apprenticeship programs through the Department of Labor and have set up agreements to award college credits to those with apprenticeship certificates. Currently, the consortium has programs in 47 states.

One such program exists in New York, where certain apprentices graduate their program with an associate's degree from the State’s Empire College. The bill would also make improvements to the program to generate new agreements with two- and four-year colleges.

The bill was introduced with bipartisan support at the end of May after its House companion bill was passed as part of the National Apprenticeship Act.

This bill is the latest in a series of bills to strengthen apprenticeship programs. Moran is also sponsoring a bill with Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called the Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act which would support a national network of Apprenticeship Hubs that convene local workforce boards, community colleges, unions, and employers to help support the expansion of the extremely successful registered apprenticeship model. The National Apprenticeship Act is also being considered by the Senate after it passed the House in February. This bill would provide grants to allow apprenticeship programs to be expanded.

By encouraging apprenticeship programs to be seen on par with college, not only does it take away the perceived stigma that it is a “lesser” option, but it also allows the apprentices the ability to gain credit for their schoolwork, keeping them on track in case they want to go back to finish up a degree. While for many it would just be a diploma to hang on their wall, for someone who wants to advance in their career and become an engineer or get a business degree to open their own construction company, these credits will prove invaluable at saving time and money as they don’t need to repeat classes to advances.

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