Revisions Bring Registered Apprenticeship into the 21st Century

The Department of Labor issued a final rule Wednesday that makes labor standards more flexible for the United States’ Registered Apprenticeship programs. The revised regulations improve quality and increase accountability to keep pace with 21st century employment opportunities.

"These regulations have been revised for the first time since 1977 to advance Registered Apprenticeship's strengths in developing a skilled, competitive workforce for the 21st century global economy," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Brent R. Orrell. "The changes we are instituting through these new rules will create more options for employers and position Registered Apprenticeship to engage today's growing industries, while ensuring the safety of apprentices and the quality of programs."

The revised regulations provide employers and apprentices with increased choices to meet the needs of industries that have traditionally used Registered Apprenticeship programs, as well as connecting with the workforce demands of new and emerging industries. The most significant changes to the regulations include:

  • The creation of multiple training approaches that increase flexibility for employers to select which path best serves an apprentice's or employer's needs. Options include a:
    • Traditional, time-based approach, which requires the apprentice to complete a specific number of OJT and RTI hours.
    • Competency-based approach, which requires the apprentice to demonstrate competency in the defined subject areas and does not require any specific hours of On-the-Job Training (OJT) or Related Technical Instruction (RTI).
    • Hybrid approach, which requires the apprentice to complete a minimum number of OJT and RTI hours and demonstrate competency in the defined subject areas.

    A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking appeared in the Federal Register on Dec. 13, 2007. The final rule appears in today's Federal Register at http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&o=0900006480782b0a.

  • Interim credentials that offer active apprentices official recognition of accomplishments and equip apprentices with a portfolio of skills and incentives to continue their career preparation and complete their programs.
  • Increased options for using electronic media to provide related technical instruction to apprentices. This change is designed to take advantage of technological advances that allow for distance learning and other technology-based instruction.
  • The enhancement of program performance and accountability standards.

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