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An Apprenticeship Bill in Pennsylvania on the Schedule for 2013?

1/17/2013 | Construction Blog

As the legislative session in Pennsylvania gets underway in earnest, the making of laws starts anew. Among those under consideration may be several pieces of legislation that were under consideration last year but never made it to the floor for a vote. An act designed to make revisions to the apprenticeship structure in the state was one such bill.

Introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate originally in 2011 by Senators Folmer, Rafferty, White, Waugh, Piccola, Browne, and Washington, the legislation is designed to create a new Apprenticeship and Training Commission. All the powers and duties of the State Apprenticeship and Training Council would be transferred to the new commission under the law. This would include a plethora of responsibilities, including oversight of apprenticeship and training programs in Pennsylvania, establishing standards for apprenticeship, establishing journeyman to apprentice ratios, and conducting special studies and investigations on issues surrounding apprenticeship and training to name a few.

construction-workers-thumb-500x375-16284Under the legislation the leadership of the commission would start with an Executive Director appointed by the governor. The commission would then appoint and hire a staff to work with the Executive Director to carry out the work of the commission. The advisory council for the commission would consist of 4 representatives of employees, four representatives of employers, two representatives of community colleges, one representative of the general public, as well as the Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development in the Department of Labor and Industry, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, and one workforce development representative from each of the Department of Aging, the Department of Education, the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Department of Public Welfare, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers.

Although it seems a bureaucratic mess at first glance, the proposed changes are not significant. It has been a common complaint by many in the construction industry, and even others outside of it that would benefit from more active apprenticeship programs in their industries, that the current Council is not active enough. In that regard, the stated goal of the legislation is re-energize the government’s role in apprenticeship and training programs. Some place great importance on these types of programs because of the impact it could have on the economy and its workforce.

No word has come down yet as to whether the legislation will be re-introduced in 2013 or not. We will track it and keep our readers up to date.