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DOL Proposed Rule Intends to Modernize Apprenticeships

19 Mar

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Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employers that use apprenticesComments on or before March 18, 2024


What happened?

On December 14, 2023, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Proposed rulemaking to enhance the National Apprenticeship System by modernizing regulations for Registered Apprenticeships, which was published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2024. However, its effects could harm the progress made.

What are the details?

According to the DOL, the proposed rule would include the following enhancements: 

  • Strengthening of labor standards, quality, and worker protections by making occupational skills and training more portable, enhancing alignment with postsecondary education, and providing better performance data. 
  • Better defining roles for State Apprenticeship Agencies and other stakeholders within the National Apprenticeship System.
  • Codifies the Office of Apprenticeship’s role in national leadership, promotion, and standards. 
  • Promoting apprenticeship pathways, including pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship readiness programs, by expanding performance and data requirements to improve accountability, transparency, and program outcomes. 
  • Creating a student-centric model of Registered Apprenticeship, called Registered Career and Technical Education Apprenticeship designed to make it more seamless for full-time high school and community college students to enroll in a Registered Apprenticeship. This approach is modeled after high-quality youth apprenticeship systems in states across the country.

However, the House Committee on Small Business issued a letter warning the DOL that the changes introduced would make it more difficult for small businesses to comply and participate in the program, by imposing difficult administrative requirements (such as the adoption of a time-based model instead of the flexible competency-based approach).

Business Considerations

  • If you want to comment on the Proposed Rule, identified by Docket No. ETA–2023–0004 and Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) 1205–AC13, follow the instructions provided here.
  • Review the new procedure and update your accordingly.
  • Update or create new policies, practices and procedures as needed to participate and comply with the Proposed Rule.


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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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