Apprenticeship Enhancement Act of 2001, August 2001
Should the U.S. Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT) and State Apprenticeship
Councils (SAC) establish protocol for responding to applications for apprenticeship
training program certification/registration?
Why it's important
Many industries across the United States, such as the roofing industry, are experiencing
a shortage of skilled workers. Factors contributing to this shortage include an
aging work force, worker retirement and lack of new entrants into apprenticeship
programs. While the pool of available workers has decreased, the demand for skilled
workers to fill those positions has risen from 20 percent of the labor force in
1950 to 65 percent of the labor force in recent years. A projected 50,000 roofing
professionals will be needed during the next decade to keep pace with anticipated
demand for professional roofing services. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Currently, when an application is made for certification of an apprenticeship training
program, there is no formal procedure or timetable for approval or denial. Also,
there is no formal recourse for a sponsor to appeal a decision. Delays in the certification
process are frustrating union and open-shop sponsors and precluding training opportunities
to thousands of potential employees.
The Apprenticeship Enhancement Act of 2001 (HR 1950), introduced in May by Rep.
Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and 23 bipartisan co-sponsors, will bring accountability
to the approval process of apprenticeship programs to allow fair and timely registration.
HR 1950 will make the application process more responsive and transparent by requiring
BAT or SAC to respond to applications within 90 days of receipt. Decisions will
have to be in writing, and applicants will be able to appeal through an internal
process with the option of judicial review.
HR 1950 is important for NRCA members because of the skilled worker shortage. The
Apprenticeship Enhancement Act of 2001 will establish a protocol for union and open-shop
NRCA members seeking to have their training programs BAT or SAC certified.
The other side
Opponents of HR 1950 are concerned that establishing a time frame for program certification
will cause BAT and SAC officials to approve substandard training programs.