Where Manufacturing Matters

Reflections on Task Force Report on Apprenticeship Expansion

Posted by Michael Hoag on May 29, 2018 1:55:51 PM

On May 10th The President’s commissioned Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion presented a detailed list of recommendations for expanding apprenticeship in the U.S.  The report includes some important recommendations focused on industry-driven strategies.

President Trump got this ball rolling with his June 2017 Executive Order on Expanding Apprenticeship in America, followed by the launch of the Task Force charged with providing a road map for acting on the administration’s desire to expand apprenticeship programs.

The Final Report’s recommendations are broad and hit on some important themes WIRE-Net has adopting in launching our Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Apprenticeship Consortium (NOMAC) strategy in Northeast Ohio. 

  • building pathways for high school students by supporting pre-apprenticeship, and promoting the use of technology in apprenticeship programs.
  • Encourage system focus on competency, not seat time requirements.
  • take important steps to expand apprenticeships to new and under-represented populations.

A key component and centerpiece of this strategy is the new model of Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship programs (IRAPs).  While the report features this new approach to how apprenticeships may operate, it offers weak details on a yet-to-be-defined role of new “third party” organizations to be responsible for both governing and implementing the proposed IRAP system.

Overall, we support and appreciate the work done by this group to focus on ways to make it easier for more employers to start and run apprenticeship programs.   We believe this is critical to success.  However, we must be cautious to avoid the potential pitfall of watering down the requirements of apprenticeship programs – namely, ones that protect employers and apprentices in defining program structure, and explicit efforts to enhance participation of underrepresented populations.

This recommendations report offers some important signals of where things might be headed.  It will still need to pass legislation channel to be enacted, so much further discussion will ensue.  A major risk is creating confusion and uncertainty in marketplace by launching a parallel system to the existing, proven Registered Apprenticeship system.  This will only hamper intended results of expanding apprenticeship opportunities.

We have witnessed tremendous momentum building locally with NOMAC and plenty of innovative work going on to address skills gap challenges across the country.  Ohio remains a leading state in apprenticeship programs and graduates, but some modernization is needed and overdue.  This report offers some promising new directions that will benefit both employers and workers.  We are excited to continue building our regions capacity and the Administration’s plans for developing and implementing new, modern apprenticeship programs responsive to industry needs.

Visit our website to learn more about NOMAC apprenticeship programs or contact Michael Hoag, WIRE-Net Vice President of Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Coordinator at (216) 920-1958 mhoag@wire-net.org.



For 30 years WIRE-Net has been a leading force to strengthen manufacturing in Greater Cleveland. We provide leading edge expertise and resources that proactively assist manufacturers in understanding and adapting to fast changing trends technology, talent, and organizational leadership. WIRE-Net connects leaders to each other and engages them in their communities. We lead, we connect, we partner.



Topics: Training, Apprenticeship Consortium, Michael Hoag

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