Rolls Back Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program
On February 17, President Biden met with the leaders of the building trades unions in his effort to lay the foundation for infrastructure legislation after Congress considers a $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill. At the meeting, the president reaffirmed his support for the National Apprenticeship Act that would provide nearly $4 billion to expand registered apprenticeships through grants and streamlining the approval process. AGC is supportive of prioritizing the apprenticeship system. However, the association will oppose all attempts to bar access to funding opportunities or other benefits when a program is not aligned with a labor union. All bona fide and high-quality registered apprenticeship programs should have access to the same tools and benefits regardless of alignment with a labor union or industry partnership. Just prior to the meeting, the president took action to rollback a Trump-era apprenticeship program, called the Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program or IRAP. The IRAP program was meant to be an alternative to the registered apprenticeship program. However, the program excluded the construction industry from participating. Therefore, its recission will have little impact on construction workforce training programs.