Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) has introduced the Apprenticeships to College Act, which would expand a program allowing skilled workers to earn college credit for apprenticeships they’ve already completed. In California, most apprenticeships last one to five years, meaning although skilled professionals have already spent a substantial amount of time studying for their career, many are not eligible for college credit.
“If you’re a carpenter in Modesto and you want to go back to school to get a degree and start your own business, you’ve already spent years in a real-world classroom – that should count for college credit,” said Rep. Harder. “We need to give people who want to continue their education a chance to do that without having to start from scratch and break the bank along the way. That’s where my bill comes in.”
“As President of the San Joaquin Building Trades, we believe Joint Labor/Management apprenticeship programs are ‘The other Four-year degree.’ As a Journeyperson and graduate of an apprentice program, you will continue your education throughout your career,” said Michael Marks, President of The San Joaquin Building Trades. “We support legislation that will help apprentice graduates continue to succeed in their trade by allowing easier transferable college credit of our programs to colleges across the country.”
An existing partnership between the Department of Labor and Department of Education helps facilitate cooperation between apprenticeship programs, colleges, and employers to ensure apprenticeship programs count towards college credit. However, the program’s reach is limited, and it is not established in federal law.
The Apprenticeships to College Act would formally authorize the program and make a number of important improvements, including:
• Creating more agreements with two-and four-year colleges to give college credit for apprenticeships.
• Making services available to facilitate the program.
• Expanding collaboration between colleges, apprenticeship programs, and businesses to measure the success of the program.
Representative Harder is a leader in efforts to support skills education. Last year, he worked alongside local educators, students, and parents to develop a trades and career education package which would correct the historic underinvestment in skills education. Harder worked to include provisions similar to these bills in legislation passed in the House Education and Labor Committee. That legislation also included Rep. Harder-supported provisions which would incentivize careers in farming, make college more transparent, and lower the cost of textbooks.