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U.S. Department of Labor Equity Apprenticeship Lead Partner National Urban League Testifies at House Small Business Subcommittee Hearing

Photo Credit: MMTC

On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the House Subcommittee on Small Business on Innovation and Workforce Development convened a hearing titled, “Mind the ‘Skills’ Gap: Apprenticeships and Training Programs” at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.

The purpose of the hearing was to discuss how private industry and the government could partner to meet the workforce needs of small businesses today and to address the future of work. Ronald Marlow, Vice President for Workforce Development at the National Urban League (NUL), testified about the highlights and success stories from NUL’s Equity Contract on Apprenticeships with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). The full list of witnesses at the hearing includes:

  • Ronald Marlow, Vice President for Workforce Development, National Urban League
  • Joshua Broder, CEO, Tilson Technology Management
  • Tim Herbert, Senior Vice President, Research & Market Intelligence, CompTIA
  • Talbot H. Gee, CEO, HARDI (Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International)

Since 2016, NUL and the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) have worked in a partnership under a Department of Labor contract to cultivate apprenticeship opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector and beyond. Other partners under this initiative have included the Wireless Infrastructure Association, Jobs for the Future, and Chicago Women in Trades, among others. Branded the “Urban Apprenticeship Jobs Program” (UAJP), NUL has worked with 12 of its Affiliates and MMTC to recruit and train over 1,000 individuals into registered apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and preparatory training opportunities. These individuals have joined programs operating across a number of occupations in the following industries: construction, telecommunications, information technology, manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare.”

NUL reaches nearly 2 million people nationwide through direct services, programs, and research through its network of 90 professionally-staffed affiliates serving 300 communities in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Modernizing the U.S. Registered Apprenticeship System

In 2017, the Registered Apprenticeship system experienced a major change in trajectory through a White House executive action that led to the formation of a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, with the mission to “identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships.” NUL CEO Marc Morial, a member of this task force, worked with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and other apprenticeship task force members to come up with recommendations to modernize the apprenticeship system. One of the key recommendations of the Task Force, provided to the President, and as highlighted by NUL Vice President Ronald Marlow in his testimony, “supported the creation of an Industry-recognized Apprenticeship Program or IRAP, which as its name implies, would rely on industry trade organizations to take on the responsibility of sponsoring of designing and implementing industry-led apprenticeship programs that would operate parallel to the Registered Apprenticeship system but that would also be free from the regulatory requirements that undergird the operation of the Registered Apprenticeship system.”

The U.S. members of Congress and staff presenting at the hearing included:

  • Rep. Jason Crow
  • Rep. Troy Balderson
  • Rep. Abby Finkenauer
  • Meagan Sunn, Technology Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives

Special thanks to Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Chairwoman of the Committee on Small Business, and Rep. Steve Chabot, Ranking Member, for acknowledging the importance of apprenticeships, holding this hearing, and inviting NUL to serve as an expert witness.

Read the full testimony of Ronald Marlow, Vice President for Workforce Development, National Urban League, here.

Catch the key highlights of the hearing at our Wakelet blog here.

Watch a video recording of the hearing below:

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