(PRESS RELEASE/Washington State Republicans)
Legislation was introduced in Olympia this week to create apprenticeship programs in every Education Service District (ESD) throughout the state.
Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber , R-Republic and sponsor of House Bill 1536 , says more needs to be done to ensure students have the training and skill set needed to secure jobs in their regional economy.
“This bill is necessary to provide students the training they need today for the potential job they’ll have tomorrow,” said Maycumber, a former school board member. “There are great jobs available in the trade sector. I’ve worked with union officials on this issue and they continue to emphasize the need for skilled trade workers. Before COVID hit, the Associated General Contractors of America estimated that 80 percent of contractors in our state were having difficulty finding qualified electricians, millwrights and iron workers, among others.
“We know that the economy will rebound, COVID will not last forever, and we need to be ready to meet the demands of our economy,” continued Maycumber. “Establishing apprenticeship programs gives more students, more options. It allows them to quickly embrace a career with pride and the knowledge that they are building the future infrastructure of our state.”
Maycumber’s bill requires each ESD to establish apprenticeship programs in at least two industries or professions. It further directs ESDs to work with local stakeholders to determine which programs would best benefit local employers and local industries. Stakeholders can be community colleges, local labor unions, local apprenticeship programs, and local industry groups.
“We need to invest more in our career and technical education programs,” said Maycumber. “Not all jobs, careers and futures lie in a four-year degree from a university. It can’t just be a university or nothing. Many of our students don’t feel like they have much of a choice. But giving our students more options as they decide upon career choices will serve to benefit them in the long run, help local industries and employers hire a qualified work force, and allow for workers to stay in their local communities. It’s a win-win for students, employers and our communities.”
House Bill 1536 is currently in the House Education Committee.
The 105-day remote 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end April 25.