Kilmer, Thompson, Kind Introduce the Compete for the Future Act of 2018

Bill would create prize competition for youth and pre-apprenticeship programs that help high schoolers learn skills for high-demand jobs Bill gives extra consideration to programs in Opportunity Zones

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Ron Kind (D-WI) announced the introduction of The Compete for the Future Act of 2018. The bill creates a prize competition for successful youth and pre-apprenticeship programs. Pre-apprenticeships prepare high school students for placements in apprenticeship programs when they graduate or equip them with the skills they need for occupations in high-demand industries. The legislation announced today would provide successful programs with additional funding so they can serve more students or invest in technologies that enhance the program's offerings

 “This is about making sure young people all over our region and the country can learn a skill so they can land great jobs,” Kilmer said. “Schools are working hard to provide those opportunities, and Congress should support them.”

 Making America More Competitive

The Compete for the Future Act empowers the Department of Education, with the advice of the Department of Labor to run a prize competition that would award eligible youth and pre-apprenticeship programs with money to expand their programs and serve more students. In order to be eligible for award money, qualifying programs must have a track record of successfully placing students in apprenticeships or helping high school students earn an industry-recognized credential. The programs must also have a formal partnership with an industry partner, and incorporate training and curriculum based on industry standards.

 “More than 3 million workers will be needed in the infrastructure industry alone in the next decade,” Thompson said. “Youth and pre-apprenticeship programs offer students the opportunity to learn the skills-based education needed to fill in-demand jobs throughout the Nation.  The Compete for Future Act of 2018 strives to invest in our youth to ensure our American workforce is well-trained and highly skilled in order to not only compete with the rest of the world, but lead the way.”   

Eligible programs would receive favor if they are located near or in Economic Opportunity Zones. The Economic Opportunity Zone program creates tax incentives for new investments in economically-distressed communities.

“As I travel across Wisconsin, I hear from students and employers alike that we need more hands-on training opportunities. I am proud to help introduce the Compete for the Future Act, which will invest in the next generation of Wisconsin workers by bolstering industry partnerships and bring real-world experience right to our students and apprentices,” Kind said. “I am also happy to see that Opportunity Zones, which were based on my bipartisan bill, the Investing in Opportunity Act, will be given priority in this competition program. Businesses and trades in all 15 Opportunity Zones in Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District will have more opportunities to grow their businesses right here in Wisconsin.”

The prize competition in The Compete for the Future Act is modeled after the successful prize competitions carried out under the 2010 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, which added Prize Competitions to the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980. Between 2010 and 2015, the government ran more than 450 challenges and awarded more than $150 million in awards on topics ranging from finding a better way to detect salmonella in foods, to creating solar-powered water purification systems.

Throughout history, prize competitions have spurred innovation. In 1714, after a lack of accurate navigational devices led to disasters at sea, the British parliament commissioned a prize competition to develop a tool that would allow sailors to pinpoint their exact longitude. After 40 years of attempts, British clockmakers produced a reliable navigational device that allowed sailors to pinpoint their precise longitude and ushered in an era of British naval might.