The bill expanding Vermont's Apprenticeship programs, H.452, passed both House and Senate in the final days of the legislative session and is on its way to the Governor for signature. It was an important bill for the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) and the Administration. This bill (which is 52 pages) puts current practice into statute to ensure compliance with the federal law.
Additionally, these changes needed in order to leverage federal grants, to modernize the system, to provide support for employees, to ensure the programs are doing what they say they are doing, and to give VDOL the authority to manage the programs.
The language also provides protection to both the apprentice and those managing the program and ensures salaries will be increased as the apprentice moves through the program. It also provides VDOL with the authority to oversee the program.
Specifically, the bill does the following:
- Clarifies many definitions to bring much needed consistency to the programing.
- Requires a 5-year strategic plan from VDOL as well as an annual reports regarding apprenticeship program information and demographics.
- Specifies the membership and duties of the Vermont Apprenticeship Advisory Board.
- Governs the process, eligibility standards, and procedures for a sponsor to create and register an apprenticeship program.
- Preserves the standard ratio of trainers/apprentices of 1:1 and allows increase to 1:2 after 2,000 hours of training.
- Provides for a five–year review of the program by VDOL based on performance metrics.
- Requires individual registration of each apprentice.
- Defines and allows for the creation and registration of pre-apprenticeship programs and establishes standards and the minimum requirements for approval by VDOL.
- Directs VDOL to continue developing standards and processes for ensuring alignment between career pathways and the apprenticeship program.
- Requires VDOL to work with Office of Racial Equity to examine ways in which to batter incorporate necessary language to promote equity and diversity in apprenticeship programs.