27 August 2018

Don’t Forget to Update Your DOL Apprenticeship Program

Have a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)-approved apprenticeship program?  Have you updated it recently?  If not, now is the time.

On December 19, 2016, the Department of Labor published a final rule updating the guidelines that dictate how employers ensure equal employment opportunity in apprenticeship programs.  The final rules updated regulations in effect since 1978 by expanding protected bases to include disability, age, sexual orientation and genetic information.

The updated regulations took effect on January 18, 2017, but provided for a phased in approach to compliance.  All requirements must be complied with by January 18, 2019.

The final rules apply to all sponsors of apprenticeship programs registered with the DOL if the program has five or more apprentices. Sponsoring companies have always been required to maintain Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs) with regards to race, sex, and ethnicity.  However, the new regulations add some additional AAPs obligations, such as setting goals for hiring qualified Individuals with Disabilities (IWD).

The new rules also impose some new program requirements, including:

  • An invitation for apprentices to self-identify as being in a disability status;
  • Updated AAPs terms such as: analyzing workforce by occupation group, analysis and goal setting by individual race/identity, and utilization goals for IWD;
  • Assigning EEO responsibility to one individual;
  • Specific outreach and recruitment strategies;
  • Communicating EEO and complaint procedures (internally and externally);
  • Establishing internal processes for receiving and responding to complaints;
  • Conducting workforce analysis for race, sex and disability;
  • Reviewing personnel processes; and
  • Updating a list of recruitment sources, including a specific contact, and providing sources with advance notice of apprenticeship openings.

If you haven’t already taken steps to update your company’s apprenticeship program, you should do so before January 18, 2019.  If you have any questions or would like assistance in reviewing your apprenticeship program, Miller Johnson can help. Please contact Keith Eastland or Kelley Stoppels.