Enrollment Procedures for the Apprentice Program
The Department of Labor has approved new rules that permit the Apprentice Fund to accept referrals of new employees into the Apprentice Program directly by employers. The Apprentice Program provides new laborers with both classroom and on-the-job training in safety procedures and a wide variety of important construction skills.
Every year hundreds of new laborers are hired and have to learn their jobs from their employers and fellow employees without organized classes or training. In contrast, new apprentice laborers entering the industry receive excellent instruction and training but often have difficulty getting jobs since employers have already made their own hiring choices.
In order to allow employers to choose their employees and also to raise the levels of safety and training among more new laborers, contributing employers will now be permitted to select candidates for the Apprentice Program. Employers will then be allowed to keep such apprentices in their employment. To do so an employer must submit an application covering a newly hired employee who must then be accepted into the Apprentice Program. The employee must meet the physical, legal and educational standards of the Apprentice Program, including passing a drug test. Such an apprentice applicant can be put to work at the 60% apprentice rate immediately after acceptance into the program. He or she must be released for a one-week classroom safety program as soon as one is available and for all future scheduled training classes. The employee eventually must meet all of the Apprentice Program’s requirements for classes and complete the two years/2400 hours of diversified on-the-job training in order to advance to full pay and journeyman status. An employer can pay more than the apprentice rate, at its option.
The new approach, which has worked for other unions, will begin with a limited number of new employees who can be apprentices and a limit of three per employer per year at this time.
Admission to the Apprentice Program will be on a first come-first served basis for qualified new hires. Enrollment will be permitted throughout the year as long as there are enough hired applicants. An employer who lets an apprentice go without cause will not be able to obtain a replacement apprentice for the same year.
Employers need to keep in mind that the ratio of Journeyworkers to Apprentices has not changed. The ratio of Journeyworkers to Apprentices shall be six (6) Laborer Journeyworkers to one (1) Apprentice Laborer on a company-wide basis, with no more than 20% of the Laborers being Apprentices on any one (1) employer’s jobsite. Employers who employ less than six (6) Laborer Journeyworkers are entitled to one (1) Apprentice Laborer.
The Apprentice Program is committed to non-discrimination in the acceptance of new apprentices and may modify the first come-first served approach if the employer referral approach results in unfairness to the pool of employees based on race, gender or national origin.