Formal apprenticeship programs are typically certified by the U.S. Department of Labor as meeting a range of quality-related components such as content, compensation, supervision, EEO standards, and other elements.
Historically, these apprenticeship programs focused on skilled trade jobs, most often in the blue collar unionized sector.
In an effort to address the country's skills gap and worker shortage in the manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology sectors, the DOL has proposed expanding this traditional model to other sectors.
But instead of directly approving an apprenticeship program, the department would approve private sector accrediting entities responsible for overseeing and approving industry-recognized programs.
The DOL believes a more contemporary, agile model brings together industry expertise and leadership, including educational institutions and other third parties, to develop and oversee high-quality programs to meet the needs for a 21st century economy.
Such programs could be developed by trade and industry groups, large and small businesses, nonprofit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations.
The DOL is seeking feedback on this new strategy, and the economic impact of this rule on the small business community.
The DOL published the proposed rule on June 25 and will accept comments from the public through August 26.