On February 17th, Biden continued changing direction from his predecessor by rescinding Executive Order 13801. As you can imagine from reading about it here, this impacts the trucking industry. Here is what Executive Order 13801 entailed and what Biden is doing to replace it.
Executive Order 13801
Hoping to bolster the use of such programs in highly-technical fields, the Trump administration signed Executive Order 13801 on June 15th, 2017. It was also titled “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.”
The plan was to establish what was called Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). These IRAPs would be created in collaboration with the Department of Labor, as well as trade and labor groups relevant to the industry being discussed. By doing this, employers would be better able to communicate what it is they want prospective employees to be trained in.
Biden sees this as a bad idea that will lead to abuse.“[IRAPs have] fewer quality standards than registered apprenticeship programs – for example, they fail to require the wage progression that reflects increasing apprentice skills and they lack the standardized training rigor that ensures employers know they are hiring a worker with high-quality training.”
IRAPs never were put into motion. This was due in part to a lack of funding from Congress, but also a slow implementation of the program.
Registered Apprenticeship Programs
Instead, Biden puts faith in Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs), which kick direct industry members out of the conversation. Presumably, this is to reduce the chances of industry leaders misusing the program as a source of reduced-wage labor.
Biden also throws his support behind the National Apprenticeship Act of 2021. It delegates funding for grants with five other primary goals in mind:
- Supporting the development of apprenticeship models.
- Recognizing qualified state apprenticeship agencies, and operating apprenticeship offices in states without a recognized agency.
- Providing technical assistance to state agencies.
- Periodically updating requirements for each occupation in the apprenticeship program and determining whether to approve new occupations for the program.
- Promoting greater diversity in the national apprenticeship system.
The distribution of funding to fulfill these goals will be handled by the Office of Apprenticeship within the Department of Labor.
The IRAPs never truly got off the ground. As a result, the trucking industry is instead affected by taking a different path in apprenticeship.
The trucking industry is slowly but surely recovering back to pre-pandemic job levels. It will be interesting to see how Biden’s plan to bolster apprenticeships without the help of trucking companies impacts the job count in the following four years. With Democrat control of both congressional chambers and the presidency, Biden has a slightly better chance of realizing his changes than Trump did near the end of his term.
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