The need for a flexible National Apprenticeship System is critical to address the needs of the nation’s regional economies and provide for the development of a skilled, competitive workforce for the global economy. The U.S. Department of Labor recently took up that cause and issued final regulations that update labor standards for the nation’s Registered Apprenticeship programs. The rule takes effect on Dec. 29, 2008; state apprenticeship agencies (SAAs) have up to an additional two years from the effective date to implement necessary changes.
This is the first time since 1977 that these regulations have been revised.
The revised regulations create more flexibility for apprentices and employers, providing each with increased choices to meet the needs of industries that have traditionally used Registered Apprenticeship programs, as well as connecting with the workforce demands of new and emerging industries.
The most significant changes to the regulations include:
- 1. Traditional,
time-based approach, which requires the apprentice to complete a specific
number of on-the-job training (OJT) and related technical instruction (RTI)
2. Competency-based approach, which requires the apprentice to demonstrate competency in the defined subject areas and does not require any specific hours of OJT or RTI.
3. Hybrid approach, which requires the apprentice to complete a minimum number of OJT and RTI hours and demonstrate competency in the defined subject areas.
The updated regulations remove this exemption and provide for reciprocal approval, for federal purposes, of apprentices, apprenticeship programs and standards that are registered in other states for all industries and occupations. To ensure that out-of-state programs do not gain an undue advantage over reciprocal state programs when bidding on a contract, apprenticeship program sponsors seeking reciprocal approval are now required to meet the wage and hour provisions and apprentice ratio standards of the reciprocal state.
For more information on the new rules or the National Apprenticeship program, go to www.doleta.gov/OA/regulations.cfm#faq.
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