MADISON, WI -- Sen. Rob Stafsholt (R - New Richmond) has introduced two bills that will modernize and provide additional financial support for Wisconsin’s apprenticeship programs.
"The number of people going into the trades has been steadily declining for years and it has become increasingly more difficult for employers to find and hire skilled workers. The pandemic has only made this shortage more apparent due to the increased demand for home services and government incentives for workers to stay home."
The first bill, Assembly Bill 973, would expand the deductibility of postsecondary tuition to apprenticeship instruction. The expansion will include tools and other materials, as well as travel costs in apprenticeship programs. It also includes an increase of $2 million for the Apprenticeship Completion Award Program (ACAP) and $550,000 for the creation of Youth Apprenticeship Completion Award Program (YACAP).
In addition, the bill includes a $2.5 million increase for Career and Technical Education Incentive grants to encourage school districts to offer high-quality career and technical education programs to mitigate workforce shortages. It also includes changes to provide certainty to students who complete a Technical College System Board-approved apprenticeship course in high school will also receive technical college credit for that course.
The second bill, Senate Bill 931, would utilize $20 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase the number of approved apprenticeship programs, promote the Youth Apprenticeship program in schools that currently have little or no participation, direct additional funding to the Apprenticeship Completion Award Program, and provide funding to bridge the connections between the Youth Apprenticeship Program and apprenticeship programs.
"Both of these bills provide funding and common sense changes that will encourage more people to enter the trades. An increase in resources for apprenticeship programs for youth and adults alike will help get the individuals who seek those pathways into solid, family-supporting careers."