Threats to the OPCMIA’s world class Apprenticeship Programs have grown as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) illegally diverted $1.1 million intended for legitimate apprenticeship programs into substandard “Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs” (IRAPs) instead.
In announcing an investigation of the DOL’s misuse of taxpayer dollars Congress appropriated solely for apprenticeships like those the OPCMIA offers, House Education & Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (Va.) said, “Ultimately, the victims of this scheme are American workers who could have benefited from Registered Apprenticeship opportunities. Every dollar the Department wasted on unproven [IRAPs] is one less dollar that could have been invested in expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs, which have a proven record of creating good-paying jobs.”
Registered Apprenticeship (RA) Programs are primarily run by the OPCMIA and the other 13 members of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU). NABTU and its signatory contractors invest over $1.6 billion in a nationwide network of over 20,000 instructors in 1,600 training centers, providing the highest quality training in the industry.
The OPCMIA’s Apprenticeship Programs and other RAs open doors to the middle class through a supervised, structured path with a combination of rigorous on-the-job training and classroom curriculum with family-sustaining wages and benefits packages. They ensure workers develop skills in a well-regulated format, with transparency requirements, uniform standards and mandatory safety training.
Through the Registered Apprenticeship federal program, the OPCMIA’s unparalleled training and education model has increased safety, skill and productivity in our crafts for over 80 years. Only by continuing and further expanding these programs will we able to ensure the highest level of training, and the safety and security of the most skilled, competent and competitive workforce we’ll need to build the next generation of infrastructure in communities across America.
The OPCMIA is fiercely committed to protecting our Apprenticeship Programs for current and future plasterers and cement masons, and we will continue to do everything in our power to stop IRAPs and the race to the bottom they would provoke.