Washington, Dec. 18—Associated Builders and Contractors today issued the following statement in response to a proposed rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor on Dec. 14 that would make significant and controversial revisions to the National Apprenticeship System.
“ABC supports government-registered apprenticeship programs and offers more than 450 such education programs across the country as part of its all-of-the-above approach to meet the workforce needs of the construction industry,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “ABC is thoroughly reviewing the Biden DOL’s overreaching, 779-page proposal and is concerned that aspects of the proposed rule will limit the number of apprentices and employers participating in GRAPs.
“Already, the government-registered apprenticeship system is woefully inadequate in meeting the workforce needs of the construction industry,” said Brubeck. “Recent data suggests that it would take 12 years for the current broken GRAP system to educate the more than half a million workers needed by the construction industry in 2023 alone. Additional unclear and onerous requirements in the DOL proposal are likely to exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage.
“The misguided proposal will discourage employer participation in the GRAP system by adding more bureaucracy and paperwork requirements while also eliminating flexible competency-based approaches to workforce development that benefit apprentices and employers,” said Brubeck. “As currently written, the Biden’s proposal threatens to undermine significant investments recently made by taxpayers in infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing projects procured by government and private owners.”
ABC will provide detailed analysis on the proposal to industry stakeholders and the public, including a request for feedback on aspects of the proposal that may be beneficial to the construction industry. In addition, ABC will submit comments on the proposed rule and make recommendations that will help create a final rule that can deliver value to taxpayers, the construction industry workforce and employer participants in the government-registered apprenticeship system.
Public comments on the DOL proposal must be submitted 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, which should be later this week.
Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 22,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 68 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.