A bipartisan bill was announced in the U.S. Senate yesterday that will provide a federal tax credit for employers hiring new apprentices. The Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs Act (LEAP Act) was introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to increase employer participation in registered apprenticeship programs and provide skilled career training in fields like construction to entry-level employees.
In addition to providing a tax credit for new apprentices, the bill puts special emphasis on recruiting young apprentices into the skilled trades. The tax credits proposed in the legislation are $1,500 for apprentices under 25 and $1,000 for apprentices over 25.
In announcing the new apprenticeship tax credit, an idea which has already proven effective in his home state of South Carolina, Sen. Scott made it clear that the cost will be offset by cutting waste through savings in government document printing.
While this is a great, bipartisan step towards closing the skills gap and enhancing employment opportunities for young people, apprenticeship is not the only recognized training pathway for a high-wage, in-demand career in fields like construction. If legislators of both parties are truly interested in growing skilled training, they should include all industry-recognized training efforts as eligible to receive tax incentives.