The viewpoint commentary, “Keep The Proposed Apprenticeship Rule Exemption As Is,” (ENR 9/2-9, p. 68) claimed that construction should remain excluded from the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s proposed rule on apprenticeship expansion because union apprenticeship programs set the bar high on quality training and earning potential. Yet educating and upskilling our workforce is a cornerstone of the merit shop construction business model. Associated Builders and Contractors members invested $1.6 billion in workforce development in 2018 alone, which translated into more than 980,000 course attendees receiving craft, leadership and safety education to advance careers.

This investment creates the conditions for thousands of apprentices, instructors, craft professionals and supervisors to develop their skills, meet and exceed their career goals and build America. These success stories are the result of innovative education methods designed specifically to create value for the construction employee, employer and client.

The U.S. construction industry employs nearly 8.2 million people and is forecasted to deliver $1.33 trillion of work this year. While the federal DOL-registered construction apprenticeships that are the subject of the proposed rule produce about 17,000 craft professionals a year, ABC estimates we will need to hire 440,000 additional workers in 2019. Why wouldn’t we want to support an “all-of-the-above” approach to expanding careers in construction by including our industry in this initiative?

Greg Sizemore
Vice President
Workforce Development & Safety
Associated Builders and Contractors