Senate approves effort to link apprenticeship to college credit
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo to enable Rhode Islanders to earn credit toward their bachelor’s degree for apprenticeships. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.
The Apprenticeship Pathways to Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Act (2021-S 0213) directs the Board of Education to establish nontraditional pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree at state public higher education institutions through the inclusion of credits earned via apprenticeships.
“We need flexibility and a broad range of options to develop the highly skilled workforce Rhode Island needs. Apprenticeships offer real-world, on-the-job training and experience. They are unequivocally valuable educational experiences, and they should be integrated into higher education in much the same way internships are,” said Senator Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, Warwick). “Apprenticeship is highly effective as career preparation and workforce development, and we should be doing everything possible to encourage people to participate in apprenticeship programs, as well as earning college degrees. Allowing people to earn college credit for apprenticeship programs does both.”
The bill directs the Board of Education to convene a workgroup including representatives from the Department of Labor and Training, the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, public higher education institutions, the state Apprenticeship Council, and the construction trades, to advise the board in the development of degree apprenticeship policies or regulations for nontraditional pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree.
It also requires the board to establish standards and guidelines for how credits for apprenticeships would be assigned.
The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Frank Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston), Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Tiverton, Newport) and Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton).
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