Update on the US Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion

By Barton James posted 01-30-2018 12:23 PM

The Department of Labor (DOL) Task Force established by President Trump’s Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America will be holding their second of four meetings scheduled for 2018, on February 6th.  The mission of the task force is to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient. The task force has recognized that registered/approved apprenticeship programs are not keeping up with labor demands. (Did you see we have locked in DOL Secretary, Alex Acosta to speak at our annual conference next week?)
Take Away of the Task Force So Far:
The Task Force is looking at World Class training programs to better understand and ultimately recommend the establishment of competency-based DOL-approved program that would be available in addition to existing traditional apprenticeship programs.  The competency-based model would teach task-oriented competencies that lead to portable credentials. A candidate could take accelerated training on tasks, achieve a credential, and work independently under that credential. The skills training could be stackable in that individuals could add competencies over time and expand their work expertise. Additionally, there is interest in making the credentials portable such that there would be recognition across jurisdictional lines. Finally, the DOL Task Force intends for the entire competency-based training regimen, once completed, to meet the requirements of existing apprenticeship programs in those states that require a license to practice.
As the work of the DOL task force proceeds, many questions need answers.  Despite our disappointment that ACCA and some of the other trades we work closely with, like PHCC were not selected to serve on the task force, and those selected to serve might be pretty far removed from the real-world constraints the trades face, we remain optimistic the elite group assembled (see list below) to serve on the task force will be able to get establish so much need changes and focus to ensure we address the critical workforce issues our industry and others are facing.
As the task force discussions continue, ACCA will be there for the meeting on February 6th, and monitoring their progress, as well as working with the induvial members of the task force to ensure they have a sound understanding of the needs and opportunities in the HVACR industry.
Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion Members:
Chair – Secretary Alexander Acosta, U.S. Department of Labor
Vice-Chair – Secretary Betsy DeVos, U.S. Department of Education
Vice-Chair – Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Department of Commerce
Michael Bellaman, President and CEO, Associated Builders and Contractors
Joshua Bolten, President and CEO, Business Roundtable
Walter Bumphus, President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges
Wesley Bush, Chairman, CEO and President, Northrup Grumman
The Honorable Dennis Daugaard, Governor, South Dakota
Emily Stover DeRocco, Founder & CEO, E3 Engage Educate Employ
Cari Dominguez, Director, Manpower Inc.
Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Montez King, Executive Director, National Institute for Metalworking Skills
Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO, Dow Chemical Company
Katherine Lugar, President and CEO, American Hotel and Lodging Association
Douglas J. McCarron, General President, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions
Marc H. Morial, CEO, National Urban League
John Ratzenberger, workforce training advocate
The Honorable Kim Reynolds, Governor, Iowa
Mark B. Rosenberg, Board of Directors, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
Joseph Sellers Jr., General President, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers
Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association
Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers