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The Pennsylvania House Labor & Industry Committee approved proposed House Bill 1952 Tuesday (June 14), which authorizes a 1:1 ratio for all of the state’s apprenticeship programs for employees in construction, manufacturing and other industries.

The action amends the state Apprenticeship and Training Act (Act 304 of 1961) in a way that promises to “level the playing field and improve workforce development,” according to the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.

Bridge workers
© / Craig Jones

The PA House Bill 1952 would allow for a 1:1 ratio between apprentice and experienced supervisory worker for all of the state’s apprenticeship programs.

The ABC is a U.S. trade association representing the merit shop, or open/non-union shop, construction industry.

“For the very first time in Pennsylvania, HB 1952 would establish a consistent system for Pennsylvania’s apprenticeship programs,” ABC of Western PA wrote in a statement issued Wednesday (June 15).

“It is crucial that we address Pennsylvania’s aging workforce and ensure that there is a next generation of qualified industry leaders.”

More Effective On-the-Job Training

The Apprenticeship and Training Act of 1961 currently allows for joint apprenticeship programs—which provide on-the-job training for union employees in construction and other industries—to have one experienced supervisory journeyman for every one apprentice.

HB 1952, introduced by Republican Representative Steven C. Mentzer, seeks to amend the legislation to provide the same allowance to non-union shop programs.

“This effective on-the-job training ratio is already utilized by some employers and is the most efficient way to develop a new generation of skilled tradesmen,” Mentzer wrote in an official memo.

Current regulations require that non-union educators and employers quadruple their resources to train new employees, specifying that they must have four experienced journeymen for every one apprentice. They also fail to match the PA Department of Labor & Industry's regulations that call for the 1:1 ratio.

“Current law is posing a fatal threat for workforce development and hindering the much-needed growth for skilled trades,” according to ABC of Western PA.

Reach Out to Legislators

The Western PA association chapter asks citizens to contact their state legislator and urge them to support HB 1952 in order to improve the state’s apprenticeship programs.

“From construction to health care, apprenticeship is the key component in addressing skilled workforce shortages,” it noted.

“Not only will this measure continue to ensure safety in the workplace, it will encourage regrowth in an aging workforce and provide for efficient training for our job creators,” Mentzer said.


Tagged categories: Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC); Construction; Contractors; Education; Government; North America; Painting Contractors; Program/Project Management; Worker training; Workers

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