Today marks the 75th anniversary of the passage of the National Apprenticeship Act also known as the Fitzgerald Act. This act of Congress, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established a national advisory committee to research and draft regulations establishing minimum standards for apprenticeship programs. In the 1930s, widespread protests by workers on issues of health and job safety contributed to the passage of this important law.
It was later amended to permit the Labor Dept. to issue regulations protecting the health, safety and general welfare of apprentices, and to encourage the use of contracts in their hiring and employment.
The Fitzgerald Act is administered by the Employment and Training Administration in the Department of Labor. The standards governing apprenticeship programs are located in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at Title 29, CFR Part 29. Regulations banning racial, ethnic, religious, age and gender discrimination in apprenticeship programs are located at Title 29, CFR Part 30.
Since 2009 apprenticeship programs for green jobs training have received grants from the DOL through the economic stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. One example is the grant to the ironworkers for green jobs training covering 20 counties within five states that have been adversely affected by auto plant shutdowns.
Photo: At an apprenticeship program in Charlotte, North Carolina, created in agreement with the N.C. Department of Labor (NCDOL).