The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday released proposed rules for a new apprenticeship structure, as well as funding for apprenticeship programs.
The Trump administration has been working on an industry-recognized system of apprenticeships, which would exist in parallel with the existing federally recognized apprenticeship program. The Labor Department released a notice of proposed rulemaking for the new system, as well as $183.8 million for educational institutions to develop and expand apprenticeships through partnerships with companies that provide matching funds. The department added another $100 million in funding to expand apprenticeships.
“The apprenticeship model of earning while learning has worked well in many American industries, and today we open opportunities for apprenticeships to flourish in new sectors of our economy,” Alexander Acosta, the U.S. secretary of labor, said in a written statement.
Congressional Democrats and others have criticized the Trump administration’s approach to industry-recognized apprenticeships, in part over concerns that they will lack requirements such as the mandatory wage increases for workers that are included in the federally registered program. Others, however, have said the existing system is balky and unable to meet work-force demands.
Senator Patty Murray, the Washington Democrat and ranking member of the Senate’s education and labor committee, said the Labor Department’s release was not a serious proposal.
“It’s a giveaway to private corporations and for-profit colleges without any guarantee that apprentices are getting quality training opportunities, are being paid fairly for the work they do or are working in safe conditions,” Murray said in a written statement.