Hillary Clinton to propose tax credits to encourage businesses to offer apprenticeships

Targeting youth unemployment, Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to propose tax credits to encourage businesses to train young people and offer apprenticeships to develop lifelong job skills.

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Clinton's campaign said she would outline a proposed tax credit of $1,500 for every apprentice that a business hires during a forum Wednesday at Trident Technical College in North Charleston, South Carolina. The state holds the first-in-the-South presidential primary.

The Democratic presidential candidate said last weekend she would begin outlining policy proposals during the summer, and the economic agenda item aims to connect with young workers and black young adults. The May unemployment rate for workers age 18 to 34 was 7.8 percent, more than 2 percentage points higher than the national average, while unemployment for young black adults was 14.6 percent.

Clinton was returning to South Carolina after making stops in Iowa and New Hampshire following her first campaign rally last weekend. Clinton was soundly defeated by Barack Obama in the 2008 South Carolina contest and the former secretary of state's campaign has taken steps to build a strong primary organization in the state. She was also meeting with community leaders earlier in the day in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Clinton's campaign said the proposal would build upon similar bipartisan efforts presented by Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., along with Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. Clinton has said she hopes to present ideas that might attract GOP interest.

"I'm going to try to be producing an agenda that I hope can draw Republican voters and Republican members of Congress," Clinton said Monday in an interview with The Concord Monitor in New Hampshire. "I'm well aware that the party on the other side has gone very far toward the Tea Party side, but I think there are still a lot of Republicans that understand that we've got to do things for our country — we have to make progress, and we've got to get results."

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The campaign said the tax credit proposal would require accountability for employment and earnings outcomes for businesses receiving the credit. Apprentices would need to be registered in order to be eligible.

Clinton presided over a similar project at the Clinton Global Initiative last year called "Job One," which aimed to help young people ages 16-24 who were out of high school and unemployed. The initiative worked with companies like The Gap, JPMorgan Chase and Marriott to train and hire young people.

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Lerer reported from Washington. Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.