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Heinrich, Moran Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Create Pathways to Stable Careers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced the bipartisan Apprenticeship Pathways Act, legislation to create pathways to careers for high school students by expanding access to apprenticeship programs.    

Apprenticeships offer a direct path to acquiring in-demand skills, and early exposure to industries can encourage more students to pursue careers in those professions. Expanding apprenticeship programs for high school students can help address workforce shortages and ensure a sustainable workforce pipeline. This legislation particularly focuses on apprenticeship programs for occupations with high need, including the building trades, healthcare, manufacturing, technology, telecommunications, and early childhood education. 

“Education shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all and you shouldn’t need a college degree to earn a good living. If we want to set the next generation up for success, we need to go all in on expanding access to training programs and apprenticeships as early as high school,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to strengthen the pipeline for careers in New Mexico, address rising workforce shortages, and grow our state’s economy.” 

“Apprenticeship programs provide affordable, hands-on training that enable students to quickly achieve the skills they need to join the workforce and have a successful career,” said Moran. “Expanding apprenticeship pathway programs to high school students will create more job opportunities right after graduation while also helping meet key shortages in our workforce.”

The Apprenticeship Pathways Act would direct the Secretary of Labor to enter contracts with workforce intermediaries who would serve as the conduit between an employer and a secondary school to establish apprenticeship programs based on local, regional, and national workforce trends. This model provides students on-the-job training and instruction, real-world experiences and responsibilities, and inspiring career pathways ahead of their entrance to the workforce. 

“Thanks to Senator Heinrich, and this legislation, New Mexico will soon provide pre-apprenticeship opportunities to young people around the state, especially in our underserved communities. Pre-apprenticeship is an essential on-ramp for high schoolers and recent graduates to access in demand, high wage careers. It’s a critical step in making our communities more prosperous,” said Mike May, Director of Workforce Learning for Future Focused Education. 

Heinrich has long led efforts to increase access to and expand apprenticeship opportunities.  

 In 2021, Heinrich and Moran introduced the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology (CHANCE in Tech) Act, bipartisan legislation to create earlier pathways to high-paying careers in the information technology (IT) industry. Heinrich previously introduced the bipartisan legislation in 2019 with former Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

Find a fact sheet of the Apprenticeship Pathways Act here.