On March 7, U.S. Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced legislation that would allow federal recognition of industry and market-driven apprenticeship programs. The Training America’s Workforce Act would allow third-party entities approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to recognize and perform oversight over apprenticeship programs developed by the private sector and other organizations.

ABC has continually advocated for the federal government to recognize the benefits that industry and market-driven apprenticeship programs provide to the construction industry and its workers. 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 with Sens. Thune and Scott to ensure that the construction industry and associations like ABC, its chapters and its members are able to participate under this new proposal.  

“The Training America’s Workforce Act will support the industry-recognized, market-driven apprenticeship programs that many ABC chapters and members use to provide their workers with the skills they need for a successful career,” said Kristen Swearingen, Associated Builders and Contractors vice president of legislative & political affairs, in a statement on the bill. “At a critical time when the construction industry faces an estimated workforce shortage of 650,000 workers in 2022, we know that the flexibility and modern approach that these programs offer can provide new opportunities for all of America’s workers. ABC appreciates Sens. Thune and Scott’s efforts to better serve construction professionals throughout the country.”