Congressional candidate Christie Vilsack suggests shifting federal job training money around to try to double the number of apprentices working in businesses throughout the country. Vilsack is a Democrat who hopes to face Republican incumbent Steve King in Iowa’s new fourth congressional district in 2012 and she went to Sioux City today to unveil her proposal.
“There’s been a study done that shows that a person who has an apprenticeship actually makes about $269,000 more over their lifetime than if they do if they just have an associate’s degree,” Vilsack says.
Right now there are about 480,000 apprentices in the United States, according to Vilsack. Vilsack says apprentices get “hands on” experience from a mentor who can help steer them through a new career.
“It’s a very practical way to learn and it makes a lot of sense,” Vilsack says. “It builds confidence among young people and I just think it’s really important that we consider the young people in these programs as our best and brightest and that we invest in them.”
Vilsack would offer businesses a $2500 income tax credit for each apprentice hired for two years by shifting money out of other federal job training programs.
“I’m suggesting that we take a look at those 47 programs,” Vilsack says, “that we make sure we fund the ones that work, maybe find those that don’t work so well and make sure that we take some money and put it behind apprenticeship programs because we know that they work,” Vilsack says.
The National Republican Congressional Committee got wind of Vilsack’s announcement and issued a statement before Vilsack released the details of her proposal and her call to shift money around in federal job training programs. The Republican pre-buttal blasted Vilsack for favoring “massive spending” plans that would “destroy jobs and make our economy worse.” The Republican National Congressional Committee’s email urged reporters to ask Vilsack if she supports abortion rights and whether she would “endorse Obama for reelection in 2012.”
Vilsack’s husband, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, works in the Obama Administration.