By KAIRIE PIERCE
Special to The Stand
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 1, 2019) — Washington state has a robust registered apprenticeship system that trains individuals to become highly-skilled, highly-paid workers through a debt-free, technologically-advanced education in all types of industries and occupations. These earn-as-you-learn programs can pay family-sustaining wages and provide health care coverage and retirement benefits. These registered apprenticeship programs also ensure workers have the highest level of safety training, keeping our communities and families safe.
However, these programs are at risk. 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.
The DOL has proposed regulations to implement Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). Unlike the Registered Apprenticeship model, the IRAPs puts the fox in charge of the henhouse. The 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.
TAKE A STAND — Please stand in opposition to the proposed rules for IRAPs proposed by the Trump administration by submitting opposition comments by Aug. 26, 2019.
Workers perform difficult physical labor and are often exposed to extreme temperatures, heavy machinery, and toxic substances. To guard against industry’s inherent dangers and promote first-rate work, workers must receive the highest quality education and training. For more than 80 years, Registered Apprenticeship Programs have provided just that.
The DOL’s proposed IRAPs, however, differ significantly from Registered Apprenticeship Programs. State 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.
Please contact the DOL today and express your opposition to the proposed rules for IRAPs. Thank you.