National Apprenticeship Act Signed 75 Years Ago Today

Posted by Chad Aleshire - On August 15, 2012 (EST)

75 Years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the National Apprenticeship Act, which established the National Apprenticeship System.  The signing of the Act, also known as the Fitzgerald Act in honor of its author, Congressman William J. Fitzgerald (CT), set in motion an opportunity that 75 years later, has offered millions of U.S. workers the chance to use the "Earn While You Learn” strategy to prepare for careers in industries that have helped drive the American economy and supported countless American families in their efforts reach the middle class and live the American Dream.

Of the Act, Congressman Fitzgerald is on record as saying, “Mr. Speaker, this bill sets up In the Department of Labor an apprentice training system for the youth of this country….”  “This bill will provide a cloak of protection to put around boys and girls and encourage them to go back into the skilled trades, and in some localities today we have a crying need for trained and skilled workers.”

Fitzgerald’s words 75 years ago still ring true today as we continue efforts to train America’s young workers and ensure that the skilled trades represent the promise and dedication U.S. workers have shown since America’s beginnings.  This dedication among U.S. employers and labor-management organizations helps to ensure we have the best trained, most highly skilled workforce in the world.

On Wednesday August 1, 2012, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, along with her Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship, celebrated the efforts of labor-management organizations and employers in commemoration of the establishment of the Act during the Registered Apprenticeship “OutEducate OutBuild OutInnovate” National Education and Action Summit.   

The summit featured leaders and stakeholders from throughout the Registered Apprenticeship system created as a result of the signing of the Act.  To highlight the dedication and investment U.S. employers and labor-management organizations have given to support Registered Apprenticeship, the event showcased recently selected "Innovator and Trailblazer" Registered Apprenticeship programs that embody the innovation and commitment still on display today in the 21st century.  These innovative programs represent the opportunities Registered Apprenticeship offers workers today and in the future. 

The Summit celebrated the history of Registered Apprenticeship over the past 75 years, but maybe more importantly, discussions focused on the role it will play in training U.S. workers in the 21st century.  And following those discussions, it’s clear U.S. businesses still believe the ‘Earn While You Learn” model is as effective today as it was 75 years ago.

Today, Registered Apprenticeship still thrives in traditional industries such as Construction and Manufacturing, and is also expanding in growing industries, including Healthcare &Childcare, Transportation, Renewable Energy… even our Armed Forces. 

Additionally, today’s Registered Apprenticeship is working with post secondary institutions across the nation to ensure apprentices are able to earn college credits as they progress through an apprenticeship.  These efforts increase the earnings-value and long-term career security of an apprentice, leading to the opportunity for a degree while establishing high-level skills that keep America’s workforce competitive.   

The U.S. Department of Labor has also just released a study which found that over a career of 36 years, participants who completed a Registered Apprenticeship program had average earnings gains of nearly a quarter million dollars ($240,037).  The study, An Effectiveness Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Registered Apprenticeship in 10 States found that the net benefits for those who complete a Registered Apprenticeship program are $233,828.  

To see more on the history of Registered Apprenticeship, and the direction it’s heading to meet the 21st century needs of U.S. workers and the industries they support, watch the OutEducate OutBuild OutInnovate Summit – Opening video, which aired to kick-off the August 1 National Education and Action Summit.

For more from the Summit also be sure to view the Event Program Agenda, Summit Photos, and the archived version of the entire Summit proceedings via Live Webcast. 




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Modified On : August 23, 2012
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