In July 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) released a 40-page report that presents a set of recommendations on “advancing Registered Apprenticeship into the 21st century.”
“Shared Vision for Increasing Opportunity, Innovation and Competitiveness for American Workers and Employers” is the result of the dedicated work by a committee of over 30 individuals from various backgrounds in the employer, public and labor sectors; including International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President Ken Rigmaiden. He, like his fellow committee members, was appointed to the ACA by U.S. DOL Secretary Hilda Solis in 2012 and served as the Labor chair.
The committee was created to:
- Advise the Secretary of Labor on the best ways to train the 21st Century workforce for new self-sustaining careers using the Registered Apprenticeship model.
- Expand the Registered Apprenticeship model into other industries besides construction and manufacturing (currently construction apprenticeship programs account for nearly 75% of registered apprenticeships).
- Expand apprenticeship/career opportunities for women, minorities and other traditionally underrepresented populations.
- Help to promote the Registered Apprenticeship model and offer guidance to industries and employers as a cost-effective business strategy for building a reliable, highly-skilled and agile workforce.
In the report, the committee presents its vision to accomplish these tasks and lays out long-term goals to persuade lawmakers, leaders and the general public to view Registered Apprenticeship as a part of mainstream education and the gateway to a successful career. Labor has an obvious interest in this initiative as we run the premier apprenticeship programs in the country. General President Rigmaiden remains dedicated to continue to be a part of this program to bring apprenticeship to the forefront of the national discussion about education.
“By remaining proactive in meeting the training needs of the industries in which they work, Registered Apprenticeship programs will remain relevant,” says Rigmaiden in the report. “Third party skills certification, online training systems, safety training and mentoring programs will continue to provide the ladders of opportunity for skilled workers to advance.”