Labor Department Announces Apprenticeship Task Force Members

By Kermit Kaleba, October 16, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the members of the President’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, a new advisory group that will advise the agency on the promotion of apprenticeship models across a range of industries, including new “industry-recognized” apprenticeship programs outside of the traditional registered apprenticeship system.

The task force is being established pursuant to President Trump’s June 2017 Executive Order (EO) on apprenticeship expansion, and will be charged with developing a report to the President that makes recommendations regarding “(i) Federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships; (ii)  administrative and legislative reforms that would facilitate the formation and success of apprenticeship programs; (iii)  the most effective strategies for creating industry-recognized apprenticeships; and (iv) the most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.” The EO does not specify a timeline for the development of the task force report, or what role the task force report will play in the development of new regulations or guidance relating to apprenticeship models, though it seems likely that the task force’s recommendations will be important factors in advancing any policy changes in this space.

The task force announcement comes at a time when Congressional Democrats have expressed concerns about DOL’s plans for apprenticeship, particularly with respect to funds appropriated for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to support the development of registered apprenticeship program. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who serve as ranking members of the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees with jurisdiction over DOL programs, sent a letter on Friday requesting further information on how those funds will be used, and encouraging Secretary Alex Acosta to ensure that any new industry-recognized apprenticeship models include key worker protections that are part of the current registered apprenticeship model.

National Skills Coalition supports efforts to expand apprenticeship and work-based learning, with a particular focus on diversifying and expanding the pipelines of workers who can benefit from these strategies, and ensuring that a broad range of businesses – including small and medium sized employers – are able to take advantage of these earn and learn models. NSC will release a forthcoming set of recommendations to the Secretary of Labor and task force on next steps to implement the initiatives under the EO in a manner consistent with this focus.

We welcome the appointment of the task force, and look forward to working with DOL and other stakeholders to ensure that the final recommendations of the task force and any regulatory changes are consistent with these priorities.

Task Force members are listed below:

 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