The following is a statement from the North American Building Trades Unions that summarizes the significant threat that Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs or IRAPs pose to our industry:
“In June, the DOL proposed regulations to implement Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). The new IRAP system will give private organizations, such as employers and trade associations, free rein to create new watered-down standards and certify subpar apprenticeship programs.” The statement goes on to explain “The proposed IRAP regulations provide a temporary exemption for the construction industry. But this could change when the DOL issues the final version of the regulation. We need to make sure that when the final regulations come out, the construction industry exclusion is permanent.”
The elimination of an exemption for construction by way of the Apprenticeship Programs, Labor Standards for Registration, Amendment of Regulations would be a grave incursion on the safety and well being of not only construction industry professionals but also the safety of the general public. The construction industry is, by its very nature, among the most dangerous industries. Workers perform difficult physical labor and are often exposed to extreme temperatures, heavy machinery, and toxic substances. To guard against industry’s inherent dangers and promote first-rate work, workers must receive the highest quality education and training. The public is also at risk. Having the safest roads, bridges, schools, and utilities, requires the best trained workers with the highest level of skill. Anything less, especially an untested program with lowered training standards will put public safety at risk.