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President Biden Signs Executive Order Scaling and Expanding the Use of Registered Apprenticeships

President Joe Biden issued an executive order to incentivize apprenticeships by directing agencies to review their financial assistance programs and procurement plans to identify where they could “include requirements, application evaluation factors, or incentives in appropriate program documents or solicitations for grantees or contractors to employ workers on projects receiving federal funding” who have been part of an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship program. The White House issued an accompanying Fact Sheet available here.

The order is part of an effort to “help ensure Americans have the skills and training they need for the good jobs created by the President’s Investing in America agenda, which includes the SWACCA-supported American Rescue Plan, the SWACCA-supported Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the SWACCA-supported CHIPS and Science Act, and the SWACCA-supported Inflation Reduction Act.” The Executive Order defines Registered Apprenticeship as “an industry-driven career pathway through which employers can develop and prepare their future workforces and individuals can obtain paid training, work experience, progressive wage increases, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally recognized credential” and provides that “a Registered Apprenticeship must meet the requirements for registration as set forth in 29 CFR parts 29 and 30.” The Executive Order defines the term “Pre-Apprenticeship” as having the same “meaning set forth in 29 CFR 30.2.”

The Executive Order also creates a Registered Apprenticeship Interagency Working Group “to coordinate policy development with regard to Registered Apprenticeships and the effective implementation of this order.” The Working Group will be co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Management Budget (OMB), the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council, and the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council. The Secretary of Labor and the Director of Office of Personnel Management are relegated to serving as Vice Chairs of the Working Group. The Working Group will submit a report to the President within 180 days addressing, among other things, promoting and utilizing Registered Apprenticeships in federal grant programs and procurement. To assess such opportunities, the Working Group may consult with stakeholders from industry, labor, and education “to assess demand for Registered Apprenticeships in specific occupations and sectors identified by the Working Group.” The Work Group shall also “review available data provided by the Department of Labor and other relevant agencies on a periodic basis to evaluate the prevalence and growth of Registered Apprenticeships in specific occupations and sectors identified by the Working Group.”

The Working Group will also collect information from participating agencies “on best practices for the utilization of Registered Apprenticeships in grants and contracts, including for expanding job quality, equity, and access to employment” in underserved communities, and “identify agency programs for which workforce development, including the use of Registered Apprenticeships, is an allowable use of funds.” The Work Group is also tasked with identifying “agency programs for which grantees and contractors could be provided incentives…to adopt or expand Registered Apprenticeship programs for their workforces.”

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