Biden Signs Executive Order Ending Trump Industry Apprenticeship Program

Written by Jonathan Davis

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

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President Joe Biden is continuing to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy one executive order at a time, including a program created by former President Donald Trump that provided federal funds to industry-created apprenticeship programs.

A new order signed by Biden this week calls for more government interference in such programs, Breitbart News reported.

Early in his term, Trump signed Executive Order 13801 titled “Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs” (IRAPs) which allowed “trade and industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations” to craft apprenticeship programs on their own that would assist in providing workers skills the country needs but that were not available (or were very expensive) at traditional colleges and universities.

These “Registered Apprenticeships” that were government-approved have, for decades, been a central tenet of U.S. labor policy. In fact, under the Obama administration, such apprenticeships actually got more money.

Critics, however, said that the model controlled by the federal government through the Department of Labor and with the ‘input’ of labor unions actually stunted the growth of apprenticeship programs. Trump’s order gave industries and even unions control so they could come up with their own programs — still within government regulations but with virtually no other federal input.

Left-wing groups including the Center for American Progress claimed that Trump’s order was installing “a parallel track that lacks adequate worker protections” and could lead to “the proliferation of low-quality programs.”

Trump’s vision, however, never fully materialized: Democrats in Congress blocked funding for it the regulations implementing the program weren’t even finalized until last year, Bloomberg Law reported.

Republicans railed at Biden’s order, including Rep. Virginia Foxx, the House Committee on Education and Labor’s ranking member.

“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,” she said in a statement.

“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,” she added.

“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,” she added.

“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,” Foxx noted further.

In a statement, the White House made it clear what Biden’s focus is: Wokeness and labor unions.

The statement described Biden’s new policy as “expanding registered apprenticeship programs” while focusing on “diverse, local, well-trained workers who have a choice to join a union.”