Representatives Discuss Best Practices for a 21st-Century Workforce in Apprenticeship Briefing on Capitol Hill

At a Glance

On January 18, several members of Congress attended the "Best Apprenticeship Practices for a 21st Century Workforce" panel to hear from apprenticeship program leaders as they discussed successes and offered suggestions.

Published jan. 18, 2018

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT) and Rep. Bobby Scott (VA) led the informative "Best Apprenticeship Practices for a 21st-Century Workforce" briefing on Capitol Hill.

On January 18, Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT) convened a panel discussion on Capitol Hill titled “Best Apprenticeship Practices for a 21st Century Workforce.” Ranking Member Rep. Bobby Scott (VA) and 16 other members of Congress joined the briefing to hear testimony from leaders of some of the most successful apprenticeship programs across the country. Panelists discussed the reasons behind their success, provided lessons learned for Congress, and offered suggestions for future programs moving forward. 

In front of a packed room, panelists described the successes of their registered apprenticeship programs, their partnerships with community colleges, and successful outcomes for both employers and apprentices. They applauded the registered apprenticeship system, finding it responsive and supportive of their efforts to develop skilled workers as necessitated by business goals. Most panelists agreed that apprenticeship provides their companies an opportunity to diversify their workforce, develops a rigorous program that “meant something,” and provides an opportunity for workers or students to succeed without a four-year degree—or the debt of college. 

When Rep. Scott asked about their choice of “registered apprenticeships,” many panelists said that working with state or federal apprenticeship representatives was helpful. One panelist commented on the relative ease of registration, saying it was “not an overwhelming or overly onerous process.”

Chris Haslinger Director of Education and Training with the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters spoke on the long, rich history of apprenticeship in the U.S., and newer programs, such as Microsoft, Aon, Machine Specialties, and The Hartford, encouraged members to continue to support apprenticeship. 

Their full testimony can be found here (in order of speakers listed below).

Panelists included:

  • Aon: Bridget Gainer, Vice President of Global Affairs
  • Microsoft: Portia Wu, Director of Workforce Policy
  • United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters: Chris Haslinger, Director of Education and Training
  • The Hartford: Jodi Greenspan, Claims Chief of Staff
  • Guilford Apprenticeship Partners: Tammy Simmons, Vice President of Human Resources and Marketing at Machine Specialties
  • Capital Community College: Dr. Wilfredo Nieves, President

JFF was pleased to support this briefing and note that Aon, The Hartford, and Guilford Apprenticeship Partners were all recently honored at JFF’s Celebration of Apprenticeship event November in Washington, DC, for their leadership and innovation in the field of apprenticeship. 

Other members attending the hearing included Reps Kathleen M. Rice (NY), Suzanne Bonamici (OR), Derek Kilmer (WA), Daniel Lipinski (IL), Suzan DelBene (WA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Bobby Scott (VA), Donald Norcross (NJ), Mark Pocan (WI), and Joe Courtney (CT).