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Hickenlooper Bills Included in National Workforce Development Legislation

Jun 21, 2024

Draft reauthorization includes several Hickenlooper-led provisions to expand America’s workforce and prepare our workers for the jobs of the future

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper cheered the inclusion of his bills in the released draft text of the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA is the primary legislative vehicle used to set national workforce development policy and fund job training and career services across the country. Several of Hickenlooper’s priorities and legislation were included in the draft reauthorization text, including a major investment in youth apprenticeship opportunities. 

“If we want to rebuild American manufacturing in semiconductors, maintain our clean energy lead, and continue on the forefront of new technologies like AI or quantum, then we need a workforce to match those ambitions,” said Hickenlooper. “Whether it’s getting more of our youth into apprenticeships or expanding on-the-job training opportunities, we’re strengthening America’s workforce to maintain our global competitiveness and create more good-paying jobs.”

Hickenlooper spearheaded key youth apprenticeship provisions in the bipartisan Senate draft text, including components from his bipartisan Youth Apprenticeship Advancement Act. The newly created, stand-alone national youth apprenticeship program will boost workforce training programs that provide a direct pipeline to competitive careers. 

Specifically, the bill would establish permanent funding for youth apprenticeship models across the country to serve in-school and out-of-school apprentices ages 16-24.

Hickenlooper has been a longtime advocate for youth apprenticeship programs. As governor, he jumpstarted CareerWise Colorado, a nonprofit designed to create statewide apprenticeship opportunities to prepare students for high-paying, competitive jobs at Colorado companies. 

The draft reauthorization text also included other Hickenlooper-led priorities, such as:

  • Provisions from Hickenlooper’s Building Youth Workforce Skills Act:allows Individual Training Account (ITA) funding to be used by in-school and out-of-school youth for workforce development programs. This funding will connect youth with 21st-century job skills and work-based learning opportunities. 
  • Provisions from Hickenlooper’s bipartisan Lifelong Learning Act:provides states and Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) with budgetary flexibility to directly respond to local employment needs. This legislation will help address current workforce needs by upskilling existing employees and reconnecting individuals to the job market. 

For full draft text of the reauthorization, click HERE.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed their legislation to reauthorize the WIOA, the bipartisan A Stronger Workforce for America Act, in April. Once passed in the Senate, a conferenced version will be negotiated by the House and Senate.


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