President Biden supports the ABC-opposed National Apprenticeship Act of 2023 (H.R. 2851), which would not achieve its goal of expanding apprenticeship opportunities, as it would further restrict small businesses’ ability to access federally registered apprenticeship programs, limit job opportunities in the construction industry and create additional obstacles for the construction industry to meet future workforce demand and needs. The bill, reintroduced in the 118th Congress by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), would:
- Further enshrine the rigidity of the federal registered apprenticeship system into law;
- Limit access to apprenticeship opportunities for hardworking Americans;
- Directly discriminate against the industry performing on a merit shop basis;
- Allow unions involved in a collective bargaining agreement to restrict the pool of apprentices;
- Limit the portability of registered apprenticeship programs throughout the country; and
- Limit the availability of many Americans in the construction industry from furthering their career.
Recent analysis of DOL data by ABC found that it would take 12 years for all federal and state construction industry government-registered apprenticeship programs to educate the more than half a million workers the construction industry needs to hire in 2023. ABC estimates that the construction industry’s federal and state registered system yielded just 45,000 completers of four-to-five-year apprenticeship programs, and just 250,000 apprentices were enrolled in all construction industry registered apprenticeship programs in 2022.
ABC will continue to advocate for an all-of-the-above workforce development strategy, including industry-driven and government-registered apprenticeship programs, so workers and employers have freedom to choose the best way to provide value and help rebuild America.
ABC supports the Training America’s Workforce Act, which would allow for the federal recognition of industry and market-driven apprenticeship programs in the United States through third-party entities, approved by the DOL, to recognize and perform oversight of apprenticeship programs developed by the private sector.
On April 21, Republican Sens. John Thune, S.D., Tim Scott, S.C., Mike Braun, Ind., and Tommy Tuberville, Ala., reintroduced the Training America’s Workforce Act for the 118th Congress. This bill would expand opportunities for careers in construction, allowing for the federal recognition of industry and market-driven apprenticeship programs developed by the private sector. ABC worked closely with Sen. Thune’s office in drafting this legislation.
The legislation mirrors much of the efforts of the Trump administration’s Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program rule. While the Trump rule explicitly excluded construction, ABC worked to ensure that the construction industry and associations like ABC, its chapters and its members are able to participate under this new proposal.