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Senator Murray Statement on Biden Administration Ending Low-Quality Trump-Era Apprenticeship Program

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), issued the following statement on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) publication of a final rule rescinding the Trump administration’s “Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs” (IRAPs), which undermined high-quality and highly-effective Registered Apprenticeship programs by creating a lower-quality, duplicative apprenticeship system that lacked key protections and benefits for workers.


“The Trump administration’s substandard apprenticeships were a bad deal for workers, it’s that simple. The programs not only lacked key protections and benefits, but they also undermined high-quality Registered Apprenticeship programs that have a proven record of creating opportunity and providing pathways to good paying jobs for workers across the country.


“After years of pushing back against this harmful program, I am glad the Biden administration is formally ending it so that we can keep focused on expanding access to Registered Apprenticeships that are highly effective—and have long had bipartisan support.”  


Senator Murray led her colleagues in opposing the Trump administration’s creation of IRAPs. In August 2019, she led 44 of her Senate colleagues in opposing the rule establishing the program. Senator Murray repeatedly pressed DOL about whether it was using funds appropriated by Congress for registered apprenticeships for IRAPs, and she pledged to keep fighting to ensure workers get the benefits and protections they deserve when the Trump administration finalized its rule in 2020.


According to data from DOL, few entities chose to create IRAPs under the Trump administration’s now-rescinded rule. Senator Murray supports DOL’s efforts to strengthen and improve the Registered Apprenticeship system and continues to push to invest in expanding apprenticeship opportunities across the country. As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee, she secured a $50 million increase in funding for DOL’s Registered Apprenticeship Program in the FY2022 funding bill.