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DOL Apprenticeship Rule: Member Resource Page

New Apprenticeship Rule:
Take Action Now to Protect Your Industry!

Welcome to TAUC's special resource page to keep members updated on the Department of Labor's proposed apprenticeship rule. Please bookmark it (www.tauc.org/irap) and check back often for updates.


On June 25, The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) designed to encourage the creation of new apprentice training programs across a wide variety of industry sectors. These programs are known as Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, or IRAPs. READ THE PROPOSED RULE


Expanding the apprenticeship training model to other industries sounds great. But TAUC plans to carefully examine any government proposal, no matter how well-intentioned, that could potentially weaken the effectiveness of our privately funded, registered apprenticeship programs (RAP) and lower training and safety standards across the entire construction industry. READ OUR FULL STATEMENT ON THE PROPOSED RULE


In its proposal, DOL says it has no plans to recognize construction IRAPs that would compete with our privately funded system -- AT LEAST FOR NOW. This, along with other language in the proposed rule, could provide the opening our non-union competitors have been waiting for. Allowing IRAPS in our industry would create confusion and reward those who have avoided the costs and effort needed to train and develop first-rate apprentices and journey people across the construction industry. If this diluted and disjointed apprentice system were permitted in the construction industry, our first-rate programs could become synonymous with second-rate alternatives in the eyes of owners, general contractors and the government. It would also undercut the level playing field currently protected by prevailing wage laws.


The Department has given all parties of interest just 60 days to convince them of the need to support the current registered apprenticeship standards for construction. The deadline to submit comments on DOL's proposed rulemaking is August 26. Our non-union competitors will be commenting to DOL in large numbers, seeking to create competing construction IRAPs with relaxed or unenforced training standards -- and take down our privately funded apprenticeship system once and for all. We need you to take action by engaging and sending your persuasive comments to the Secretary of Labor, federal officials and even political allies on the federal level.

Your comments need to underscore the importance of our programs and that they need to be upheld and protected by the DOL. Simply put: If we do not rise to this challenge to act on behalf of the RAP apprenticeship system we jointly fund and administer, the system could be changed and devalued after the final rules are published in 60 days.




We understand that some members don't have the time or resources to write a detailed set of comments - and yet you still want to ensure your voice is heard. The Construction Employers of America's new online portal will help you quickly and easily submit comments to the Department of Labor with only a few clicks of your mouse. Just enter your basic information, choose the topic that's most important to you, and the online tool will generate a letter instantly for you to approve and send on to DOL. It's so easy, you can even do it on your phone or tablet!

Go to www.ProtectConstructionTraining.org now to get started.


If you'd like to submit more detailed and in-depth comments to the Department of Labor, you can write your own and submit them online via Regulations.gov. Here are some tips:


Include specific reference to the rule in opening sentence: Apprenticeship Programs, Labor Standards for Registration, Amendment of Regulations (1205-AB85).

Describe Your Company: Include an introductory paragraph describing your organization including its size, what it does, and where it operates. Give specific information: total number of employees; man-hours worked; amount invested annually (or at least in 2018) in a joint apprenticeship and training programs; the number of registered apprentices in the programs your programs your company participates in, and the number of apprentices utilized (on-the-job training opportunities).

Highlight the Importance of Privately Funded Registered Apprenticeship Programs to Your Business: Emphasize the positive impact that Registered Apprenticeship programs have had on your organization and your industry, and the importance of those programs to your continued success. Include specific, detailed examples of the ways in which the current privately funded registered apprenticeship program system, created jointly by the building trades and their signatory contractors, has had a positive effect on your business, craftworkers, and the industry. These examples can include:

  • Personal stories about your companies' positive experience with Registered Apprenticeship in the construction industry.
  • Discussion of how being a signatory contractor to a high-quality, joint labor-management apprenticeship program is vital to your customers and allows you to deliver the high-quality results they demand.
  •  If you or your employees serve as a trustee on one or more of these joint labor-management funds, be sure to mention it.
  • Amount invested annually in joint labor-management apprenticeship and training programs, why this investment is important to your business, and why you are committed to supporting the ongoing success of those programs and the pipeline of skilled workers these programs support.
  • Provide specific examples of innovative training techniques and technologies incorporated into the training programs -- stress how the programs provide opportunities and flexibility to incorporate new technology and allow your firm to remain competitive.

Close with a thank-you: End with a paragraph thanking the Department for the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed rules and for their consideration of your recommendations.


Here are some key points to make in your comments regarding the rule itself:

1. Maintain an exemption for the construction industry within the proposed rule.

  • The Department of Labor should not permit approval of IRAPs in the construction industry.
  • The construction industry does not lack high-quality apprenticeship training opportunities.
  • The construction industry invests significant amounts of private money and resources into joint labor management apprenticeship training programs.
  • Less rigorous apprenticeship programs competing in the same arena would undermine the high quality of training these programs provide, as well as the significant investments made in developing a pipeline of highly skilled workers.
  • The final rule should permanently remove the construction industry from the IRAP initiative.

2. No government funding is needed to support training in the construction industry.

  • Contractors and building trade unions have jointly built an apprenticeship and training system that privately funds training for tens of thousands of men and women each year.
  • The registered apprenticeship system in construction provides benefits to both workers and employers. Workers have the opportunity to start earning good wages while they learn a craft and acquire portable, nationally recognized credentials. Employers get a highly skilled workforce, improved safety, greater productivity and fewer mistakes.
  • Registered apprenticeship programs are solely focused on training. They do not seek to earn profits or request public subsidies. (Again, emphasize the number of programs you participate in and the amount of funding your organization contributes to Registered Apprenticeship programs annually -- and the amount of private funding your Registered Apprenticeship programs annually invest in training.)
  • Government support for apprenticeships and training should be restricted to industries in which substantial investments have not already been made by private industry over many years to create programs.

3. Keep a clear distinction between registered apprentice programs and IRAPS.

  • Current registered apprenticeship programs go through a rigorous review process by the DOL or a state agency and have strict oversight.
  • Construction industry registered apprenticeship programs have proven records of commitment to providing in-classroom training in addition to job-site training. IRAPs are unproven. Therefore, a bright line distinction is appropriate and warranted.
  • Developing a new and untested parallel training model in the construction industry is unnecessary, duplicative, and would result in fragmented standards and undermine a privately funded system that already works.
  • Allowing inadequately trained apprentices into the pool of construction and maintenance workers would undermine ability to carry out work effectively. This would add a significant vetting burden to hiring processes that is otherwise unnecessary due to the competence of workers coming out of joint labor-management Building Trades apprenticeship programs.
  • Inadequately trained workers on the jobsite raises construction costs, lowers efficiency, and increasing project length and the likelihood of workplace accidents.


Please comment on the proposed rule using either method before August 26, 2019 to preserve the certified registered apprenticeship programs.



DOL Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

DOL Press Release

TAUC Press Release

ENR Article on the Proposed Rule (including quote from TAUC)



TAUC Letter to DOL Sec. Acosta RE: Apprenticeships, Feb. 12, 2018

TAUC Letter to Senate Labor Committee on Modernizing Apprenticeship Programs, Aug. 2, 2018