THE U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed H.R. 447 or the National Apprenticeship Act, which includes a funding provision for the CNMI.
Authored by Rep. Robert “Bobby” C. Scott, D-Va., the measure passed the House by a 247 to 173 vote.
In his latest e-newsletter, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said H.R. 447 will provide the CNMI with $2.8 million over five years to create and expand registered apprenticeship programs.
“I co-led this bipartisan bill, which fully incorporates the text of the Outlying Area Apprenticeships Expansion Act that I introduced [in the] last Congress,” Kilili said.
Section 2(18) of the bill defines “outlying area” as the American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.
“Apprenticeships are well recognized as a way to help local economies grow by providing career opportunities to young people,” Kilili said. “But the current national apprenticeship system has not adequately supported the creation of apprenticeships in the Marianas.”
With the language of his bill included, Kilili said H.R. 447 will address that inequity.
“Our school systems already equip students with the skills that employers seek. Now we need to build the connection between what was learned in the classroom and the real-world workplace. Apprenticeships provide that link. And with widespread unemployment due to the coronavirus, that link is needed now more than ever,” he said.
Funding for job training
Kilili also announced that the CNMI would receive $300,000 to help job seekers in the Commonwealth find gainful employment under his bill, H.R. 836, or the Employment Services and Jobs Parity Act.
H.R. 836, he said, proposes to amend the Wagner-Peyser Act.
“This change would make additional federal assistance for career guidance, skill assessments, and referrals to job training available to Marianas job seekers,” he added. “Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. ‘Bobby’ Scott has committed to working with me to ‘make the Marianas an eligible entity for Wagner-Peyser Assistance,’’ when Congress takes up the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The reauthorization is expected in this Congress,” Kilili said.