WASHINGTON, D.C. — The plumbing industry in the U.S. and its allies are lauding the House of Representatives’ bipartisan passage of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 (H.R. 447) and is strongly encouraging the Senate to approve it as well.
The bill seeks to reauthorize the 1937 National Apprenticeship Act, which established the registered apprenticeship system, for the first time since its inception 84 years ago.
Many characteristics associated with registered apprenticeships today, including progressive wage increases, mentorship and safety standards, are not part of the 1937 law and instead have been included in subsequent U.S. Department of Labor regulations, states a release. The provisions and more would be codified into the new federal law, as well as expanding apprenticeship programs through the authorization of $400 million to $800 million in new grant funding.
A number of organizations are supporting the legislation including the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada (UA), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association and Plumbing Manufacturers International.
Introduced Jan. 25 by Rep. Robert C. Scott, H.R. 447 invests in increasing access to registered apprenticeships (RAs) and codifies and streamlines existing standards that are vital to support RAs and expands the successful RA model to youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, adds the release.
Based on Education and Labor Committee estimates, passage of the bill would create more than one million apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years.
“Apprenticeships are a proven pathway to well-paying employment,” said IAPMO CEO Dave Viola in a statement. “We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for passing this important piece of legislation and encourage the Senate to quickly pass it as well. We face increasingly complex water and infrastructure challenges in the United States. The registered apprenticeship program is essential to ensuring that our country has the skilled workforce required to meet these challenges.”