Legislative Update: Administration Support for Registered Apprenticeships and Reopening School Guidelines


Legislative Update: Administration Support for Registered Apprenticeships and Reopening School Guidelines

The Administration voiced support for registered apprenticeships this week. Read below to learn more about the details of this announcement, as well as new information on safely reopening schools and an update on the reconciliation process. 
Administration Plans to Expand Registered Apprenticeships
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced steps that would be taken to expand and invest in registered apprenticeship programs. Specifically, President Biden will: 

  • Reaffirm his commitment to expanding registered apprenticeships to reward work, rebuild the middle-class and connect a diverse workforce to family-supporting, living wage jobs.
    President Biden endorsed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021, stating that “this bill will ensure these programs draw in a diverse workforce, by supporting industry and equity intermediaries who can help recruit women and people of color.” Advance CTE supports the National Apprenticeship Act and the impact it would have on expanding high-quality apprenticeship programs. 
  • Reinstate the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships.
    It has been requested that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reinstates the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships. The Advisory Committee will be focused on expanding apprenticeships into new industries, such as clean energy, as well as ensuring equitable access to training and jobs. The Advisory Committee will select stakeholders from across the country to develop registered apprenticeship programs that are successful in all communities. 
  • Reverse industry recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs), which threaten to undermine registered apprenticeship programs.
    Executive Order 13801 (Expanding Apprenticeships in America), which began the development of IRAPs, was rescinded on the basis that there are too few quality standards. President Biden also asked DOL to provide new rulemaking that would halt approval of new Standards Recognition Entities and end funding for existing ones, which would slow the already planned implementation of IRAPs. 

ED Shares New Information on Reopening Schools
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the release of the COVID-19 Handbook Volume 1: Strategies for Sagely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools. This first volume of the ED COVID-19 Handbook supplements the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools Through Phased Mitigation. The handbook includes examples and strategies for educators and staff to use to implement the CDC’s recommendations for safe in-person learning. Information is included on: 

  • Masking practices; 
  • Physical distancing practices; 
  • Cohorting/podding and staffing considerations for physical distancing; 
  • Transportation considerations; 
  • Encouraging families and staff to check for symptoms at home; 
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette; 
  • Safety considerations related to extracurricular activities and athletics programs; and
  • Supporting ongoing engagement with educators, families and the school community. 

The second volume will be released by ED in the coming weeks, and it will provide strategies to respond to the disruption the pandemic has caused for students, educators and parents. This will particularly focus on historically underserved students and communities. 
House Continues Reconciliation Process
The House Committee on the Budget scheduled a markup of the $1.9 trillion reconciliation bill, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, for Monday, February 22. This legislation includes the 12 reconciliation bills from the House committees. Last week, the House Committee on Education and Labor voted to approve its $357.9 reconciliation portion. This bill appropriates $170.1 billion for education programs- broken down by $169.8 billion for the education emergency relief fund, $128.6 billion for K-12 education and $39.6 billion for higher education. If the bill passes next week’s committee vote it will then go to a full House vote. You can watch the markup at 1:00pm ET on the 22nd here
Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy