DOL to Rescind Trump Administration’s Industry Apprenticeship Model

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer November 15, 2021

​The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking to eliminate a Trump-era regulation that allowed employers and trade groups to create and oversee their own apprenticeship programs.

After years of development, the final rule establishing Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs), which would exist alongside the DOL-regulated system, was issued in March 2020.

The rule allowed for the creation of apprenticeship programs by third parties called Standards Recognition Entities (SREs), which included industry groups, businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and unions.

We've rounded up articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide more context on the news.

Biden to Focus on Registered Apprenticeship Model  

The DOL issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Nov. 15 rescinding the regulation establishing IRAPs and allowing the department to direct its resources toward expanding access to its registered apprenticeship system. If the proposal is finalized, the DOL will work with previously recognized SREs and IRAPs to explore how to work under the registered apprenticeship system.

The DOL will accept public comments on the proposal until Jan. 13.       


Biden Reverses Course on Employer-Led Apprenticeships

In February, President Joe Biden rescinded the order that called for the creation of new IRAPs but left in place the 27 SREs and over 130 programs that already were approved during the Trump administration.

(SHRM Online)

IRAPs Draw Support, Criticism

The IRAP model was cheered by employer groups and Republicans for its emphasis on giving employers more flexibility in providing on-the-job training without the red tape of the registered apprenticeship process.

But the initiative garnered significant criticism from worker advocates and Democrats, who worried that outsourcing oversight of the programs to third parties would undermine wage and employment protections.

(SHRM Online)

SHRM Foundation Creates HR Apprenticeship Program

The SHRM Foundation launched an apprenticeship program in February under a grant from the DOL to help employers develop human resource specialists at their organizations.

(SHRM Online)

House Approves Apprenticeship Overhaul

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2021—which would invest billions of dollars in the DOL's registered apprenticeship system, codify standards, and expand the work-based learning model to new communities and industries—passed the House of Representatives in February. It has not yet been introduced in the Senate.

(SHRM Online)



Hire the best HR talent or advance your own career.

Member Benefit: Ask-An-Advisor Service

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.



HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.