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History and Fitzgerald Act


Apprenticeships have helped build America from its early colonial beginning to the present day. Among the early apprentices who went on to national distinction were George Washington (surveyor), Benjamin Franklin (printer) and Paul Revere (Silversmith). Thousands of others - carpenters, masons, shipwrights - did their part in developing and supporting the economy of our young nation and making the United States what it is today.

The Apprenticeship Model Evolves

Wisconsin created the first state Registered Apprenticeship system in 1911, and in 1937 Congress enacted the National Apprenticeship Act (also known as the Fitzgerald Act), establishing the program as it is today. By the mid-1940s there were approximately 6,233 Registered Apprenticeship programs nationwide, educating and training 4,000 apprentices.

Following the passage of the act, Registered Apprenticeship programs consisted mainly of the manufacturing, construction and utilities industries. Following World War II, Registered Apprenticeship began to expand into training of firefighters, police, emergency medical technicians, and other health and safety workers.


Apprenticeship Today

In 2012, Registered Apprenticeship will proudly celebrate its 75th anniversary. At no time during Registered Apprenticeship's first 75 years has the role of talent been more critical to an employer, a community, a state or a nation's ability to compete economically. As the need for skilled workers increases and our economy faces greater global competition, RA continues to be a competitive advantage for all parties-individuals, businesses, labor management organizations, education, the workforce investment system and government. For these reasons, ETA issued revised regulations that increase program flexibility to better serve the needs of today's apprentices and program sponsors in the fall of 2008.

There are almost 24,000 Registered Apprenticeship programs providing education and training for approximately 400,000 apprentices in emerging and high-growth sectors such as energy conservation, health care and information technology, in addition to traditional industries such as manufacturing and construction.

The apprentices participating in these programs, and the knowledge and skills they are learning, are as diverse as the American population has become since our country was founded more than 200 years ago. New efforts and innovative program models are increasing Registered Apprenticeship's ability to serve a range of populations, including women, disadvantaged populations, veterans and even the formerly incarcerated.


Original Version
THE NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP ACT
(50 Stat. 664; 29 U.S.C. 50)

To enable the [U.S.] Department of Labor to formulate and promote the furtherance of labor standards necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices and to cooperate with the States in the promotion of such standards.

Be it enacted by the senate and House of representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of Labor is hereby authorized and directed to formulate and promote the furtherance of labor standards necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices, to extend the application of such standards by encouraging the inclusion thereof in contracts of apprenticeship, to bring together employers and labor for the formulation of programs of apprenticeship, to cooperate with State agencies engaged in the formulation and promotion of standards of apprenticeship, and to cooperate with the National Youth Administration and with the Office of Education of the Department of the Interior in accordance with the section 6 of the Act of February 23, 1917 (29 Stat. 932), as assembled by the Executive Order Numbered 6166, June 10, 1933, issued pursuant to an Act of June 30, 1932 (47 Stat. 414) as amended.

SEC. 2. The Secretary of Labor may publish information relating to existing and proposed labor standards of apprenticeship, and may appoint national advisory committees to serve without compensation. Such committees shall include representatives of employers, representatives of labor, educators, and officers of other executive departments, with the consent of the head of any such department.

SEC. 3. On and after the effective date of this Act the National Youth Administration shall be relieved of direct responsibility for the promotion of labor standards of apprenticeship as heretofore conducted through the division of apprentice training and shall transfer all records and papers relating to such activities to the custody of the Department of Labor. The Secretary of Labor is authorized to appoint such employees as he may from time to time find necessary for the administration of this Act, with regard to existing laws applicable to the appointment and compensation of employees of the United States: Provided, however, That he may appoint persons now employed in division of apprentice training of the National Youth Administration upon certification by the Civil Service Commission of their qualifications after nonassembled examinations.

SEC. 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 1937, or as soon thereafter as it shall be approved.

Amendments to the National Apprenticeship Act

§ Sec. 50. Promotion of labor standards of apprenticeship

The Secretary of Labor is authorized and directed to formulate and promote the furtherance of labor standards necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices, to extend the application of such standards by encouraging the inclusion thereof in contracts of apprenticeship, to bring together employers and labor for the formulation of programs of apprenticeship, to cooperate with State agencies engaged in the formulation and promotion of standards of apprenticeship, and to cooperate with the Secretary of Education in accordance with section 17 of title 20. For the purposes of this chapter the term ''State'' shall include the District of Columbia.

§ Sec. 50a. Publication of information; national advisory committees

The Secretary of Labor may publish information relating to existing and proposed labor standards of apprenticeship, and may appoint national advisory committees to serve without compensation. Such committees shall include representatives of employers, representatives of labor, educators, and officers of other executive departments, with the consent of the head of any such department.

§ Sec. 50b. Appointment of employees

The Secretary of Labor is authorized to appoint such employees as he may from time to time find necessary for the administration of this chapter, with regard to existing laws applicable to the appointment and compensation of employees of the United States.