Legislature advances Cuddy bill to support registered apprenticeships

Tue, 04/12/2022 - 10:15pm

AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature enacted legislation Monday sponsored by Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, that would increase financial support for apprenticeships in Maine.

As amended, LD 177 would allocate $200,000 to reimburse training programs within the Maine State Apprenticeship Program and provide an additional $200,000 for pre-apprenticeship programs.

“I am proud to see this legislation move forward,” said Cuddy. “Here in Maine, apprenticeship is a time-honored tradition that combines class instruction with real-world work experience. Apprenticeship is fundamental to Maine’s economy and ensuring that these programs are properly funded as they continue to grow is critical.”

Since its creation in 1941, the Maine Apprenticeship Program has expanded significantly. In 2019, the program served 2,813 individuals, an increase of almost three times the number of apprentices who accessed the program a decade earlier.

Maine statute allows the Maine Department of Labor to reimburse apprenticeship sponsors up to 50% of the cost of classroom training. In recent years, the reimbursement rate rose to $1,200 per apprentice, per year. Based on increases in the number of sponsors requesting reimbursement and available funding, reimbursements were reduced in 2019 to up to $500 per apprentice.

The funding allocation in LD 177 would allow the state to keep pace with increased interest in these programs and would ensure that apprenticeship sponsors are not left footing the bill for classroom training.

The bill now moves to the Special Appropriations Table.

Cuddy, a member of the Labor and Housing Committee and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, is serving his second term in the Maine House. He represents the communities of Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and Winterport.