The future of America's construction workers is at risk, as a new proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) could drive down training and labor standards in registered apprenticeship programs and set off a race to the bottom throughout the industry.
In June, the DOL proposed regulations to implement Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). This new IRAP system will give private organizations, such as employers and trade associations, free rein to create new watered-down standards and certify subpar apprenticeship programs.
The construction industry is, by its very nature, among the most dangerous industries. Workers perform difficult physical labor and are often exposed to extreme temperatures, heavy machinery and toxic substances. To guard against the industry’s inherent dangers and promote first-rate work, workers must receive the highest quality education and training. For over 80 years, Registered Apprenticeship Programs have provided just that.
The proposed IRAPs differ significantly from Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Construction registered programs help recruit, train and retain workers through progressive wage increases; apprentice-to-journeyworker ratios that promote safety; quality assurance assessments by the government; uniform standards; mandatory safety training; instructor eligibility requirements and transparency requirements. The proposed IRAP regulations abandon the important protections of the registered model and give employers license to implement whatever low-road standards they see fit.
Here’s how you can help:
Submit a comment to the DOL at https://www.
We have until August 26, 2019 to make our voices heard before the DOL issues the final regulations.