1. Final Rule for the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs to be Signed
After the initial executive order filed in 2017 and following a lengthy proposed regulation process at the Department of Labor, the White House is anticipated to deliver their final approval of the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP) regulation. We expect the final rule to contain a construction industry exemption, thereby protecting our industry from participation in IRAPs. President Trump is expected to review and sign this final rule in the immediate near future.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA strongly advocated for the construction industry exemption to ensure NECA contractors are not negatively impacted by this rule. By securing this exemption, the long-established apprenticeship model that NECA Contractors utilize will remain intact and not subjected to these parallel programs which will operate with less scrutiny and limited educational requirements.
2. President Trump Calls for Infrastructure Funding
The need to address our nation’s infrastructure is reaching two critical deadlines. Surface transportation programs under the NECA-supported FAST Act expire September 30, 2020 and the Highway Trust Fund facing insolvency after fiscal year 2021.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the NECA-supported America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), S.2302, by a 21-0 vote in 2019. In a positive development, President Trump called for the bill’s passage in his State of the Union address. The bill, which was the largest highway bill ever passed, authorizing $287 billion over five years, remains unfunded. House Democrats are negotiating with the Trump Administration on funding and have indicated they will not announce funding mechanisms unless they reach an agreement.
3. President Trump Delivers the State of the Union Address
On February 4, 2020, President Donald Trump delivered his third State of the Union Address.
NECA’s Look Ahead: President Trump outlined several major initiatives that directly impact the electrical contracting industry, including support for a plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure and provide vocational training at every single high school in America. NECA called on the Administration and Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner to enact these positive policy initiatives as soon as possible.