On June 25, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule on apprenticeship programs that would establish a process for creating high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs by organizations that apply to become DOL recognized Standards Recognition Entities. DOL’s new release on the proposal is available here.

While the purpose of the proposal is to expand apprenticeships and close America’s skills gap, it excludes the construction industry. Under the rule, DOL would not, at least initially, accept applications from SREs that seek to recognize apprenticeship programs in construction. The reason for the initial exclusion is that DOL considers the construction industry a sector that already has significant registered apprenticeship opportunities.   

Immediately following the proposed rule’s release, ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman commented

“Established industry-recognized apprenticeship programs have been utilized by the merit shop construction industry for decades to provide hardworking Americans with not just a job, but a well-paid, in-demand construction career. ABC members invested $1.6 billion in craft, leadership and safety education for more than 980,000 course attendees in 2018 alone. And ABC will continue to lead the sector in recruiting, educating and upskilling the people who build the places where we live, learn, work and play. We are still reviewing the proposed rule and look forward to providing comments illustrating why all Americans would benefit from the construction industry being included in the IRAP final rule.”

ABC is currently drafting its comment letter on the proposed rule, which will be submitted to DOL by the public comment deadline of Aug. 26.  We welcome any feedback on the proposed rule from ABC chapters and members, which can be emailed to Brad Mannion at mannion@abc.org.

We will continue to provide updates in Newsline on DOL’s apprenticeship expansion proposed rule. 

Additional information can be found at DOL’s website, apprenticeship.gov.