Department of Labor Issues Supplemental FAQs on Apprenticeship and Training Plan Expenses

The most successful trade unions have created apprenticeship programs to help develop a new generation of skilled workers. Apprenticeship is a system of learning by doing that combines training on the job with related and supplemental instruction at school. Apprenticeship programs unite future workers with skilled journeypersons to teach on the job skills and provide the know-how that empowers people to become an important part of their occupation and industry. Every year, the labor movement trains more than 450,000 workers through union apprenticeship programs.

Each program operates under apprenticeship training standards agreed to by labor and management in accordance with State and Federal laws. The U.S. Department of Labor has recently issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB No. 2014-02) to provide guidance on how apprenticeship programs can organize and participate in apprenticeship contests and competitions. These contests and competitions allow apprentices to test and develop their skills in various elements of their trades. Competitions may be local, regional, national or international.

As explained in FAB No. 2014-02, each program may pay for a competitors' travel, lodging, meals and awards, as well as other expenses associated with organizing or conducting a contest or competition. Plans must ensure that all such expenses are justified and reasonable in light of the educational objectives of the training program, the financial situation of the plan, and other relevant circumstances, such as the size and level of the competition.

For more information on apprenticeship and training plan expenses, please contact your Trust Fund counsel.

By Kristina Zinnen and Carlos Isidro | January 16, 2015

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