Apprenticeship Reform Emerges Again

By: JD Bruno, Advocacy Coordinator

In 2016, ABC made tremendous inroads in reforming Pennsylvania’s apprenticeship ratio laws, which have been out of date and imbalanced in the Commonwealth for more than 50 years. Not only does the current regulatory environment heavily favor training programs with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), but it also contributes to the dramatic workforce shortage in skilled trades. Last year, Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lancaster) introduced House Bill 1952 which would codify even access to journeyman-to-apprentice ratios, regardless of union affiliation. 

While HB 1952 received a favorable vote from the House Labor and Industry Committee, it ultimately did not advance to the Governor’s desk for signature. Because of the importance that this issue holds to the construction industry and Pennsylvania’s workforce development efforts, Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) has indicated his intention to reintroduce the apprenticeship reform legislation in the Senate this year. He has already circulated a co-sponsorship memo which has been signed by Senators Don White (R-Indiana), Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango), Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), Dan Laughlin (R-Erie), Rich Alloway (R-Franklin), John Eichelberger (R-Blair), John DiSanto (R-Dauphin), and Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster). 

As the Pennsylvania legislature returns to focus on the annual budget in March, ABC will continue to encourage action on this issue in both the House and Senate.