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Michigan AG Nessel Joins 12 Attorneys General Urging the U.S. Department of Labor to Strengthen Protections for Apprentices

LANSING - To protect the integrity of Michigan apprenticeship programs and ensure adequate training for all apprentices, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Monday joined 12 Attorneys General in submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) urging it to revise its proposed apprenticeship rule to strengthen protections for apprentices.

“Apprenticeships have long been a staple in our state’s economy and a driving force behind sustainable paychecks for families across our state,” Nessel said. “It is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect the rigor of these programs and Michiganders looking to start careers in good-paying jobs.”

In their letter, the Attorneys General point out three key concerns with the proposed rule:

  • Its failure to include specifics about what an apprenticeship program must include in order to be certified;
  • Its failure to adequately protect apprentices from low-quality programs; and
  • Its failure to provide the USDOL proper enforcement authority to act when programs fall short of providing quality training and education.

In Michigan, apprenticeships are a necessary part of the licensing requirements for many occupations, including electricians, plumbers and boiler operators. Michigan’s apprenticeship regulations contain specifics on the required number of hours and the duration of an apprenticeship program, but sometimes also rely on the USDOL’s certification of an apprenticeship program. 

“With more than 1,000 apprenticeship programs in the state and more than 18,000 active apprentices, Michigan absolutely has a stake in strengthening this rule,” Nessel added. “When strict regulations and protections aren’t put in place, some businesses will do everything they can to exploit consumers, taking every advantage of the loopholes half-baked rules leave wide open. I urge the USDOL to revise its rule to make certain these programs remain a viable pathway to endless possibilities for Michiganders and all Americans.”

Nessel co-signed the comment letter with the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

A copy of the letter can be read here.