Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Senator Doug Jones (D.-Ala.) today introduced legislation to promote education and training for workers in in-demand industries, including expanding all-important registered apprentice programs. The Working On Rewarding and Keeping Employees Resilient (WORKER) Act will ensure employees have access to good paying careers in skilled jobs throughout Nevada and the nation.
“I’m committed to ensuring that Nevada workers remain competitive and trained for 21st-century jobs and that one good paying job is a ticket to a middle-class life,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Nevada is one of the fastest-growing states, and we’re a national leader in innovative and creative uses of technology. I want to make sure that every worker who wants to can be a key part of our growing and cutting-edge economy. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to promote and encourage STEM education, tech apprenticeships, worker retraining, and other incentives to help working families find and keep good paying jobs. Let’s make sure our state’s expansion and tech revolution benefit all of us.”
“As our economy continues to evolve, we must prepare students at an early age for the jobs of the future while also supporting workers who have been displaced due to automation,” said Senator Jones. “This comprehensive legislation invests in the skills needed for Alabamians to keep up with 21st-century workforce demands.”
“Nevada’s working families appreciate Senator Cortez Masto’s WORKER Act to help prepare workers of today and tomorrow. Whether through her provisions to expand STEM education, promote registered apprenticeships, or opportunities for training, the Culinary Union supports this legislation and the Senator’s efforts to fight for workers in Nevada and throughout the country,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union.
“Senator Cortez Masto knows the promise of registered apprenticeships, quality education, and earn-as-you-learn, with access to the middle class, should be promoted as a viable work-based learning strategy. Apprentice Readiness Programs are a proven first step in preparing for a successful apprenticeship, and funding for Apprentice Readiness Programs must be incorporated in our collective work-based learning strategies. Additionally, collaboration with the K-12, registered apprenticeships, community colleges, and our university systems must be aligned so all barriers are removed. We appreciate the Senator’s recognition and advocacy of these priorities within her WORKER Act,” said William H. Stanley, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Southern Nevada Building Trades Union.
“We thank Sen. Cortez Masto because we know that the future of education is apprenticeship, certification and outside-the-box thinking in order to build the workforce of the future. In my opinion, this legislation does that,” said Peter Guzman, President of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce.
Senator Cortez Masto has focused on supporting workers, advocating for multiple pieces of legislation to create pathways to 21st-century, middle class jobs. Her bipartisan Safe DRONE Act included a provision to help build quality workforce development programs for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) that was signed into law in 2018. The Senator recently introduced the STAT Act, which included similar programs to train America’s labor force to create smart communities. Recently, to protect workers impacted by technology, she has helped introduce the Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act and the TAA for Automation Act, both of which will help displaced workers and ensure training programs receive adequate resources to give workers the skills they need to succeed.
The Working On Rewarding and Keeping Employees Resilient (WORKER) Act would provide for the following:
- Expands programs in engineering at elementary and secondary schools by awarding grants to local educational agencies to support, develop, and implement formal and informal engineering education programs in elementary and secondary schools.
- Expands programs in maker education at schools to teach hands-on skills in design and manufacturing by amending the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to allow funding for “maker education,” “makerspaces,” and training for teachers.
- Expands promotion of registered apprentice programs by the Department of Labor, including outreach to underrepresented populations, young people, and veterans;
- Promotes collaboration with postsecondary institutions to promote apprenticeships, including allowing academic credit for apprenticeship programs;
- Coordinates unemployment programs with career counseling, job search assistance, training assistance, and income support services to better support unemployed workers in finding a job.
- Creates a Training Voucher program to support dislocated workers completing short term training in in-demand industry sectors.
- Creates a stipend for dislocated workers to ensure their transportation and child care costs can be covered while they retrain for new jobs.
Full text of the bill is available here.