Tom Smart, Deseret News
FILE - Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, talks during a debate in Salt Lake City. Utah would be the first state in the country to establish the position of commissioner of apprenticeships program, under legislation passed Friday by the Utah House of Representatives.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah would be the first state in the country to establish the position of commissioner of apprenticeship programs, under legislation passed Friday by the Utah House of Representatives.

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HB280, sponsored by Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, would promote, coordinate and educate the public about apprenticeship programs offered by private sector businesses, trade groups, labor unions, partnerships with educational institutions.

The position would be created within the Department of Workforce Services and appointed by the department’s executive director. The new full-time position would require an appropriation of $128,000.

The bill also seeks $500,000 to promote apprenticeships, which Winder described as “debt free diplomas.”

Apprentices “earn while they learn,” in various apprenticeship programs, many of them run by trade unions, he said.

HB280 passed on a vote of 63-10.