To the Editor:
Apprenticeship programs are important. They do more than train people to work in the trades; they keep everyone safe and reduce construction costs and time. These programs are certified and regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor and implemented by employers and labor organizations working together to ensure the safest and best quality workforce possible.
Because of apprenticeship programs, we take it for granted that the bridge we drive our family across was built correctly, the hotel we are staying in won’t collapse due to poor quality construction. Because of apprenticeship programs, working people can learn a trade that not only provides for their families but protects them from injury and death.
Right now, the DOL is proposing changes in the rules governing apprenticeships. These changes will remove regulations that provide a standard for safety and skill training. They will make it possible for employers to label new-hires as “apprentices” regardless of whether they provide real training or let them “pick it up as they go.” They will result in poorer quality work and longer construction delays for roads, bridges, buildings and all infrastructure projects. These changes will result in more injuries and deaths.
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As part of the process, the DOL is accepting comments from the public. If these changes troubles you, please take a moment to tell the DOL at www.apprenticeship.gov that these changes will reduce quality standards in the construction industry and make things less safe for all of us.