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WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today urged the Biden administration’s U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to withdraw its proposed changes to the National Apprenticeship System.

The partisan rule—entitled “the National Apprenticeship System Enhancements”–would impose significant regulatory burdens on apprenticeship programs nationwide. It introduces a rigid mandate for both on-the-job and classroom training hours, enabling the Department of Labor (DOL) to terminate non-union apprenticeships without verification from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This would disproportionately hurt programs in rural areas and small businesses, which would struggle to meet the stringent requirements due to limited flexibility and resources. Such drastic changes to the apprenticeship program risks worsening the already critical labor shortage.

“Apprenticeships have a long tradition in the United States as a way for workers to gain on the job training, technical skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their career. This pathway is a valuable option for individuals seeking an alternative to a traditional college education,” the senators wrote. “The one-size-fits-all Washington mandate does not take into consideration the various dynamics of apprenticeship programs across localities and industries. The burdensome requirement will also be particularly difficult for small businesses to fulfill as they may lack the flexibility and resources necessary.”

The letter was co-signed by U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.). 

Full text of the letter can be found here.