DOL Plans to End Trump-Era Industry Apprenticeship Programs

November 19, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed to eliminate the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) and direct its resources toward expanding access to its traditional Registered Apprenticeship program model. 

Background:  IRAPs are apprenticeship programs recognized by a Standards Recognition Entity pursuant to DOL standards that provide individuals with opportunities to obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and progressively advancing skills.  IRAPs are generally developed or delivered by trade and industry groups, corporations, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and joint labor-management organizations.

The proposed rule would rescind the regulatory framework used to establish and govern IRAPs.

DOL will work with IRAPs to explore options to become program sponsors or intermediaries under the Registered Apprenticeship system.

Takeaway:  The proposed rule is supports the Biden administration's goals of bolstering unions, which have strong ties to the registered apprenticeship program, as unions have generally opposed IRAPs as being too loosely regulated.