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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 19, 2019 01:11 PM
From: Representative Barbara Gleim
To: All House members
Subject: Parity in Apprenticeship Ratios
I am preparing to introduce legislation that will amend the Apprenticeship and Training Act to modernize Pennsylvania’s apprenticeship ratio standards.

Like many of you, I have heard from employers who have family-sustaining jobs available, but cannot find the qualified workforce to fill those openings. Many of these companies have apprenticeship programs, so that they can train their own workers – but antiquated regulations severely limit the number of apprentices that can be trained at any given time.

Current regulations require at least 4 supervisors for each apprentice, regardless of the industry. Furthermore, apprenticeship programs operating under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) can set the ratio of supervisors to apprentices through the CBA, which creates an unfair disparity between union programs and equivalent nonunion programs.

My legislation would take a more nuanced approach to Pennsylvania’s standards to apprenticeship ratios, so that businesses can recruit and train the workers they need, while eliminating preferential treatment for programs with a CBA.

My bill will:
  • Set maximum ratios based on the hazardousness of the industry apprentices are being trained for:
    • High hazard – 3 supervisors for each apprentice
    • Medium hazard – 2 supervisors for each apprentice
    • Low hazard – 1 supervisor for each apprentice
  • Provide more flexibility to allow small businesses to grow (businesses with fewer than 50 full-time-equivalent employees) by allowing a 1:1 ratio for the first three apprentices and a 3:2 ratio for apprentices after that.
  • Eliminate the disparity between the requirements for union and nonunion apprenticeship programs.If the prevailing practice among union programs allows a lower number of supervisors for each apprentice than required by regulations, nonunion programs in the same industry will be allowed to use the same ratio.

Through this approach, which considers safety, growth and fairness, I believe that we can significantly improve the ability of PA employers to attract and train the talent they need.

I hope that you will join me by co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1746