The fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week will take place from Nov. 11 through Nov. 17 and North Americas Building Trades Unions (NABTU) has issued a directive to promote a slightly different message this year.
This November, NABTU is pushing the use of the branded term “National Save Apprenticeship Week,” according to a prepared statement. All affiliated building trades unions and Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee events for this week should include discussion on preserving and protecting registered apprenticeship programs.
“This year, as we await the DOL’s final rulemaking on apprenticeship, we want to focus our efforts on preserving and protecting the registered apprenticeship system with its long history of producing the safest, most highly trained construction workers in the world,” NABTU said.
Each year, NABTU and its signatory contractors invest more than $1.53 billion in a nationwide network of over 20,000 instructors in 1,600 training centers, which provide the highest quality training in the construction industry through registered apprenticeship programs.
In August, the U.S. Department of Labor closed a comment period regarding a new initiative to encourage the expansion of the apprenticeship model. Part of that plan included the creation of Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs), which would not be held to the same rigid laws and DOL oversight, but rely on “self-monitoring.” The DOL plan allowed for an exemption for the construction industry.
NABTU encouraged its affiliates, their friends and family to support the exemption, but also call for it to become permanent. During the DOL comment period, nearly 325,000 Americans responded expressing that sentiment.
Now, building trades members are awaiting the final ruling from the DOL regarding IRAPs and the construction industry exemption. While a decision could be announced at any time, it will likely not take place before or during National Apprenticeship Week.
Local Unions, District Councils and JATCs are encouraged to schedule National Save Apprenticeship Week events during the second full week of November. Such events can include tours, training demonstrations or anything else to highlight the value of registered building trades apprenticeship programs and the local training center.
Any affiliate hosting National Save Apprenticeship Week events is encouraged to invite the media, as well as state and local politicians and candidates, teachers, students and parents, NABTU said.
Individuals speaking during these events should focus on the benefits of a registered building trades apprenticeship program, as roughly, 75 percent of all civilian registered apprentices are trained in the construction industry and over 75 percent of those apprentices are trained by one of 14 NABTU affiliated unions.
NABTU also strongly urges affiliates to take pictures and videos of any scheduled events, which should be sent to local media outlets, to NABTU and posted on all social media pages.