MADISON… State Sen. André Jacque (R- De Pere) today said Gov. Evers blocked another path for workers to obtain training for well-paying, family-supporting jobs by vetoing bipartisan legislation extending the tax deduction for postsecondary tuition to apprenticeship instruction.

Sen. Jacque, co-author of the bipartisan Workforce and Education Fairness Act with Rep. Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls), said the legislation would have leveled the educational playing field by addressing a significant financial barrier to these rewarding skilled trade careers.

“In 2019, manufacturing workers averaged $74,252 in compensation, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM),” Sen. Jacque said.  “Apprenticeship training has been successful in helping employers meet the growing demand for these family-supporting jobs, but the financial challenges can be daunting for those who wish to learn these trades.”

Currently, all tuition for schooling programs that are approved by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) qualifies as tax deductible, but apprenticeship programs are not included.  The Workforce and Education Fairness Act (Senate Bill 125/Assembly Bill 115) provides more equal treatment by creating an individual income tax deduction for tuition expenses paid by an individual participating in an apprenticeship program approved by DWD.

“Continued growth of manufacturing, which accounts for about $65 billion – nearly 19 percent – of Wisconsin’s GDP, counts on workers being able to learn the skills these employers need,” Sen. Jacque said. “That means the Governor cannot build back better by vetoing additional educational pipelines into these well-paying skilled trade careers.”

Sen. Jacque said a broad coalition supporting the Workforce and Education Fairness Act includes the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Waukesha County Business Alliance, Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Wisconsin Builders Association, and the Wisconsin Grocers Association.

In addition, Sen. Jacque has re-introduced legislation providing an additional $100,000 per academic year to assist technical college students in the Tools of the Trade apprenticeship grant program.

“The Governor should not veto educational opportunities for this generation to build better lives for themselves and their families,” Sen. Jacque said.  “All of Wisconsin benefits from the highly-skilled workforce needed to power a growing economy.”

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