Legislation Encouraging the Skilled Trades


Several state legislatures across the country are considering legislation aimed at increasing the number of individuals involved in the skilled trades in 2019. States have taken a variety of approaches to this issue, but ultimately are united by their interest in increasing their supply of workers in the skilled trades. Below you will find a list of all relevant examples of introduced legislation from 2019, as well as a list of relevant legislation examples that ultimately became law in recent years, as some states have been working on this issue regularly over the past few years.

StateBill NumberSummary
FloridaHB 543Wide-ranging legislation that would have created the “Earn and Learn” grant program within the Florida Department of Education to address the shortage of individuals trained in the skilled trades relevant to target industries. The program would have assisted school districts, public postsecondary educational institutions and charter technical career centers in the development and expansion of pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in target industries. Among other things, this program would have offered grant funding to schools, set minimum uniform pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program standards in the state and provided instruction in workforce readiness skills.
FloridaHB 989Would establish the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion within the Department of Economic Opportunity. Under guidance from both the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Education, the Task Force would:Seek information from representatives of those in the state’s skill deficit industries (defined in statute as advanced manufacturing, construction, health care, agriculture, information technology and trade industries).Explore the expansion of pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeship programs in the state.Examine and make legislative and administrative recommendations on a handful of topics related to workforce development in the skilled trades.
MinnesotaSB 293Would require the state commissioner of education to collaborate with the commissioner of labor and industry on incorporating construction and skilled trades into career counseling services for middle and high school students. Counselors would need to focus on high-growth, in-demand skilled trades and include information on various related career paths, associated jobs and the salaries of those jobs. The legislation would also require the commissioner of labor and industry to study the safety of youth in skilled trades and report any finds back to the legislature.
MinnesotaHB 2406Would appropriate $200,000 in fiscal year 2020 from the workforce development fund to the commissioner of employment and economic development for a grant to Big Ideas Inc. for its mobile classroom program offering community education in the skilled trades.
New JerseySB 3068Would establish a peer-to-peer apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities and persons with disabilities in the state—all groups that can benefit from participation in apprenticeships, but often are overlooked.
New JerseyAB 4657Would establish a three-year Youth Apprenticeship Pilot Program to provide high school and college students an opportunity to develop work skills while continuing a traditional education path. The goal of the program is to prepare students to enter the workforce by providing some of the on-site employment training and related classroom instruction needed to obtain a license or certification for a skilled occupation.
PennsylvaniaHB 297Amends part of existing public school code to require schools to provide representatives from skilled trades, area vocational schools, community colleges, businesses, industries and other employers the chance to share information regarding employment training opportunities with students as well as the opportunity to recruit them.
StateBill NumberSummary
CaliforniaAB 16-2288Legislation requires pre-apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades funded by the federal Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOWA) to develop plans for outreach, recruitment and retention of women. Ultimately, local workforce development boards will implement the plan with the intention of increasing representation of women in the skilled building and construction trades.
MichiganSB 18-946Created the “Going Pro Talent Program” with the purpose of working toward closing the talent gap and increasing the supply of skilled trade workers in the state. The program provides competitive awards to qualified, in-state employers that can be used for workforce training and skill development.
MichiganHB 17-4181Requires high school guidance counselors to dedicate time to learning about career and technical education and skilled trade job opportunities and to pass on this information to students. The legislation requires high school guidance counselors to complete 150 professional development hours including 25 hours minimum on career and technical education and skilled trades programs.
OhioHB 18-098Known as the “Ohio High School Career Opportunity Act,” this legislation provides representatives from the armed forces, skilled trades, businesses and charitable organizations with the opportunity to present career information, including potential apprenticeship and post-graduate opportunities, to high school students. The goal of this legislation is to ensure high school students have equal access to career-relevant information from many different sectors in addition to colleges and universities.
WisconsinAB 18-124Requires the Department of Workforce Development to connect apprenticeship and skilled trade opportunities to individuals who start an education at any University of Wisconsin system campus, but fail to complete a degree. The department will market opportunities in apprenticeships and skilled trades to former UW students through direct-mailers to individuals who did not complete a degree.

Iris Hentze is a Policy Associate in the Employment, Labor & Retirement Program.