A piece of legislation is quickly moving forward on a federal level to boost apprenticeship programs in the United States. The House of Representatives passed House Bill 447, also known as the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021. The bill passed in the house last week with a vote of 247-173. It was moved through the chamber just under two weeks after being introduced by Representative Bobby Scott. The bill includes providing funding for the tourism and hospitality industry, which would be beneficial to casinos and resort hotels.
Details of the Bill
The legislation would push the Department of Labor to invest over $3.5 billion to create new options for apprenticeship programs. It would also increase access to them among individuals in the United States. With the changes, the program should create close to one million apprenticeships within a five-year span.
Representative Dina Titus is responsible for adding a provision to include the hospitality industry. Broad support is provided for this provision including from the Culinary Workers Local 226. This union is the primary one that represents casino employees located in Las Vegas. Trade groups such as the US Travel Association are also on board with support.
The measure must now go to the Senate for consideration. Last year, a similar version of the bill was unable to move forward before Congress adjourned for the year. However, this year, the Senate has new leaders and hopefully this will have an impact on the outcome of the bill.
Training for Everyone
According to Titus, the apprenticeship program will provide everyone with the opportunity to work in the hospitality industry, receiving on-the-job training, in a paid environment. Programs will be offered for adults as well as young people. Pre-apprenticeship programs will prepare young people for working in the hospitality industry early on.
The representative feels that her plan will help provide new pathways to the middle class, at a time when everyone locally is struggling. Supporters of the bill feel that the measure will provide a benefit to taxpayers at well over $10 billion. The figure covers higher productivity rates plus reductions regarding the need for unemployment and assistance for individuals who are struggling to make ends meet.
Statistics from the Labor Department show that employees who take part in a registered apprentice program are able to find work once the program is completed. On average, individuals who complete such a program can earn $70,000 a year. The wages for employees in the hospitality industry involving casinos and hotels will vary based on the position. One factor to consider is if the position is a tipped job.
Looking at casino jobs and wages, a typical banquet cook position would pay just over $18 an hour for an individual with no experience. However, after a year of training, the pay would increase to over $20 and then even higher after a few more years.
The potential to learn and earn a rise is pay will make the apprenticeship programs attractive to individuals in need of employment. Overall, the region will benefit from providing quality training to see employees learn their craft and build a career in the hospitality industry centered around casinos and hotel spaces.
While the bill is moving forward, it is unclear as to if the measure has enough support to be passed into law.