Last month, Department of Labor officials considering a new rule for apprenticeship programs received a groundswell of opinion on the matter. The department was bombarded with more than 325,000 comments from Americans, many of them focused on a controversial provision that would especially affect construction workers, according to Engineering News-Record.
At issue is a proposal to exempt the construction industry from one element of the plan — creation of Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) that would take over much of the standard-setting done by DOL and state agencies.
The provision in question would recognize select groups as Standards Recognition Entities (SREs), which would establish criteria for structure, curricula and training for IRAPs. This would allow industry groups, associations, schools, states, localities and unions to become SREs. Those SREs would set standards for IRAP training and curricula in specific industries or business sectors, with oversight from the DOL.