AUGUSTA — A Maine legislative committee has approved a proposal designed to increase wages for apprentices.

The state’s Maine Apprenticeship Program facilitates training and education to help fill gaps in the state’s workforce.

Democratic State Sen. Joe Rafferty, of Kennebunk, has proposed applying at least 75 percent of the program’s funding to apprenticeship programs in which the apprentices earn at least 150 percent of the minimum wage upon completing the apprenticeship agreement.

The Maine Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee passed the proposal by a count of 8-5 on Monday. It will now move on to the full Legislature.

Rafferty said he is “confident that this bill will make our apprenticeship programs more successful and competitive as time goes on.” He also said the bill “creates yet another incentive to keep our young folks working here in Maine for the foreseeable future.”

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