Hillary Clinton to call for tax credits for hiring apprentices

Hopes more apprenticeships will raise wages, boost youth employment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will call for tax credits for businesses that hire and train apprentices as a way to raise wages and boost youth employment during a campaign stop in South Carolina on Wednesday.

Clinton is expected to unveil her proposal, which calls for a $1,500 tax credit per apprentice, during an afternoon forum at Trident Technical College, a two-year community college in the Charleston area, according to campaign aides (all figures in U.S. dollars).

Clinton's proposal mirrors a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last year that would grant businesses a $1,500 tax credit for hiring an apprentice under the age of 25 and $1,000 for those 25 and older, her campaign said. The backers of the Senate bill, which has not yet passed, said it would create about 400,000 positions and help meet a demand for skilled U.S. labor.

Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination ahead of the November 2016 election, entered the second phase of her campaign this week after declaring her candidacy in mid-April.

In her first large rally in New York City on Saturday, Clinton said businesses should be encouraged to create good jobs instead of increasing profits at workers' expense, and she will expand on that theme in South Carolina on Wednesday, her campaign said.

Clinton has struck a populist tone during the first months of her campaign, often remarking how the "deck is stacked" against U.S. workers and how Wall Street bankers pay lower tax rates than nurses or truck drivers.

Clinton's first campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire, which hold the first party nominating contests, included round tables at community colleges.

Clinton's campaign, in a background policy document provided to reporters, described her apprenticeship proposal as a "win-win" for businesses that need skilled employees and workers in need of well-paying jobs.

The campaign pointed to a 2012 study cited by the Department of Labor that found apprenticeships are associated with a worker earning an average of $6,595 more annually. The unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds outpaces the overall unemployment rate at 7.8 per cent to 5.5 per cent, the campaign said.

In rolling out the tax-credit proposal, Clinton is expected to emphasize the role her mother played in instilling the value of hard work. Her campaign also highlighted a Clinton Foundation program that created economic opportunities for young people in the United States.

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