Apprenticeship programs in the Marianas would receive new funding under terms of legislation introduced by Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) on Monday. The Outlying Areas Apprenticeship Expansion Act, H.R. 8320, makes the National Apprenticeship Act applicable in the Marianas and other U.S. insular areas. The result would be new apprenticeships and expansion of existing programs and an estimated $2.8 million over the next five years.
“The National Apprenticeship Act has proven its value, helping grow local economies and ushering young people into successful careers. Yet the Act currently does not support apprenticeships in the Marianas and other insular areas,” Sablan said in his introductory statement.
“My bill fixes that inequity, providing the annual funding necessary to support the creation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in the Marianas, as well as in Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.”
Sablan has previously supported expanded apprenticeship programs in the Marianas. Last October, he joined Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) in introducing H.R. 4965, the Leveraging Effective Apprenticeships to Rebuild National Skills (LEARNS) Act. The legislation channels technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor to existing apprenticeship programs, such as those at Northern Marianas College, Northern Marianas Trades Institute, and CNMI Public School System.
“Our schools already provide Marianas students with many of the skills businesses are looking for,” Sablan said. “But we need to keep building the connection between the school experience and the hands-on, real world work environment. That is where apprenticeships come in.
“Apprenticeships are the ‘last-mile’ link between training and jobs.”
H.R. 8320 makes grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and other arrangements available to the Marianas for the purposes of establishing registered apprenticeships and expanding opportunities under the National Apprenticeship Act. If enacted into law, the bill would take effect on July 21, 2021 and authorize an FY2021 appropriation of $1,786,000, to be divided equally among the outlying areas. (PR)