Bill aims to grow apprenticeships for college students

A bipartisan House bill introduced this week would create a new grant program to foster more registered apprenticeship opportunities for college students.

The Student Apprenticeship Act, introduced by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-California) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania), would create a grant program that, in part, would allow students to earn college credit and an industry credential through apprenticeships. Participating employers would pay at least 25 percent of the student’s college tuition and fees.

The bill, which does not include a specific amount for the proposed program, is a companion to Sen. Michael Bennet’s (D-Colorado) Student Apprenticeship Act, introduced in November.

Under the legislation, the grants would offset the costs associated with developing and implementing student apprenticeships, according to the lawmakers. Permitted activities would include:

  • developing curricula and standards
  • supporting on-the-job learning, mentoring and additional supervision
  • purchasing updated equipment
  • supporting services, such as tutoring, transportation, childcare and housing subsidies

The bill also would allow apprenticeships to qualify under the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program so eligible students could work in jobs that align with their coursework and intended career path.

“Apprenticeship programs grow our economy by fostering training programs that will prepare workers for in-demand careers,” Fitzpatrick said in a press release. “By promoting the collaboration between higher education and apprentice programs, this bill will help to prepare the next generation for good-paying jobs, while addressing our nation’s current shortage of trained workers.”

The bill is supported by several higher education and workforce organizations, including the American Association of Community Colleges.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.