Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued the following statement after President Biden announced plans to close pathways to work for students, job seekers, and job creators by ending 131 innovative, employer-led apprenticeship programs, called Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs):
“President Biden’s move to end IRAPs will kill jobs. Period. Doubling down on an inefficient, 80-year-old system that is unresponsive to workers’ needs is not a solution, it is irresponsible.
“In the last four months 131 IRAPs have been created, the vast majority of which are for nursing credentials. Why a party that claims to follow science would limit nursing credentials during a global pandemic is beyond me.
“Instead of catering to union bosses and increasing Washington’s overreach into the private sector, we should support and encourage efforts to cut the regulatory red tape that stops too many employers from filling in-demand jobs. Employer-led apprenticeship programs account for more than 80 percent of all apprenticeship programs nationwide. The success of these programs should come as no surprise, employers know best what skills their employees need to excel in the workplace.
“Ending this innovative and successful program is mind-boggling. Americans are eager to get back to work. We have a tool to help them achieve that goal, but President Biden is putting an end to it.
“I implore President Biden to rethink this misguided decision on behalf of America’s students and job seekers.”
Background: Seeking out solutions to address the growing skills gap in the country, the Trump administration’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, composed of business leaders, educational institutions, and trade associations, recommended reducing the regulatory burden faced by businesses, allowing them to be flexible in their program requirements to meet the varying needs of different industries. Initially proposed by the Department of Labor in 2019, IRAPs help cut through the overly prescriptive and burdensome red tape many new and small businesses face when navigating the registered apprenticeship system.