The U.S. Department of Labor released a proposed rule that threatens to undermine both the project bidding status and the reputation of our skilled apprenticeship programs by establishing an alternative to the registered apprenticeship programs: the industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAP).
IRAP programs represent new, undefined pathways to the expansion of apprenticeship programs where anyone can create unique apprenticeship programs and submit it to the DOL for approval. If extended to construction, this could severely impact our advantage for public work where skilled workers and registered apprentices are needed to get favorable crew costs for bidding.
The DOL has imposed an August 23, 2019 deadline for public comments to be registered regarding IRAPs. Members of SMACNA along with other trade associations need to use this time period to convince the DOL to support the current registered apprenticeship standards for construction.
SMACNA, along with other industry partners, have developed an easy way for you to submit your comments to the DOL. Simply click this link, fill in the required information, and the software will generate a unique comment letter to be submitted automatically on your behalf.
It is imperative that our voices be heard by the DOL regarding this proposed rule and the potentially damaging impact it could have on our industry and training programs. Please submit your comments today.