In an effort to help fill manufacturing jobs, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has teamed with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine to introduce a bill that creates and expands apprenticeship programs across the country. The bill would authorize the U.S. Labor Department to offer competitive grants to states for use as tuition assistance for workers pursuing pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs. The bill aims to fill the skills gap that makes it hard for employers to find qualified applicants for manufacturing positions.

Klobuchar pointed to a survey that showed nearly 70 percent of Minnesota manufacturers having difficulty finding qualified applicants for highly skilled jobs.