Bill aims to boost entry into apprenticeship programs

LEAP Act legislation aims to boost participation in apprenticeship programs.   Contributed photo

U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs  (LEAP) Act (S. 574) on Thursday to increase the number of registered U.S. apprenticeships.

“Providing increased opportunities for America’s work force to sharpen their skills and ensure our competitiveness in the global economy is essential,” Scott said. “The LEAP Act will encourage students and those changing career paths to earn while they learn, while also providing employers the ability to create and enhance apprenticeship programs.”

There are currently over 410,375 apprentices in 19,260 active registered apprenticeship programs, or 0.2 percent of the nation's work force.

“Apprenticeships are a proven, cost-effective way to connect more workers, especially younger workers, with on-the-job skills businesses need to compete in today's knowledge-based economy," Booker said

Key parts of the act include:

• Addressing the fact that the highest age of apprentices is 29 by offering a tax credit of $1,500 for apprentices under 25.

• Being fully paid for through an offset from cutting printing waste by barring the federal government from creating publications that are available online.

• Offering a federal tax credit for hiring new apprentices registered with a state apprenticeship agency or the U.S. Department of Labor.

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