PROPOSED ORDER OF THE WISCONSIN
DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
CREATING AND ADOPTING RULES
The Wisconsin department of workforce development proposes the following order to amend DWD 295 and repeal and recreate ch. DWD 296 relating to federal equal employment opportunity standards for apprenticeship programs.
Analysis Prepared by the Department of
Statutes interpreted: ch. 106, Stats.
Explanation of Statutory Authority
An apprenticeship program is a program approved by the department providing for the employment and training of apprentices in a trade, craft, or business that includes a plan containing all of the terms and conditions for the qualification, recruitment, selection, employment, and training of apprentices. The department is authorized to promulgate rules related to provisions to be included in an apprenticeship contract and procedures for approving and for rescinding approval of apprenticeship programs.
Related Statute or Rules
Wis. Stats. Ch. 106 – Apprenticeship, Employment and Equal Rights Programs
Plain Language Analysis
Chapter DWD 296 (Federal Equal Opportunity Standards for Apprenticeship Programs) is promulgated pursuant to ch. 106, Stats. and prescribes the policies and procedures to promote equality of opportunity in apprenticeship programs registered with the department. This emergency rule repeals and recreates ch. DWD 296 to align with federal regulations (29 CFR 29 and 29 CFR 30) and state statute. Wisconsin is recognized as a state apprenticeship agency organized under 29 CFR 29.13 and is required by federal regulation to incorporate the changes made under 29 CFR 29 and 29 CFR 30. The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship, updated 29 CFR 29 and 29 CFR 30 to include regulations that prohibit discrimination in registered apprenticeship programs because of age (40 or older), genetic information, sexual orientation, and disability. These categories are in addition to the existing regulations that prohibit discrimination in registered apprenticeship programs because of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. Federal regulations also require sponsors to provide equal opportunity in apprenticeship. State agencies with recognized apprenticeship programs are required to update administration rules to reflect federal regulations.
The rule differs from the current rule by:
- Creating the definitions "ADA," "affirmative action plan," "apprentice," "EEO," "ethnic group" or "ethnicity," "genetic information," "individual with a disability," journeyworker," "major life activities," "physical or mental impairment," "pre-apprenticeship program," "qualified applicant or apprentice," "reasonable accommodation," "registered," "UGESP," and "Wisconsin equal rights division."
- Amending the definition "affirmative action program" to align with federal regulations.
- Repealing the definitions "agency," "commission," "secretary of labor," "minority count," and "female count" because those terms are no longer used in ch. DWD 296.
- Amending the definitions "department," and "employer" to reflect proper citation.
The rule also does all the following:
- Requires sponsors to invite applicants to self-identify as an individual with a disability at various times in the application and hiring process and requires sponsors to make a one-time invitation to apprentices currently in registered apprenticeship programs.
- Improves and clarifies the affirmative steps employers and sponsors shall take to ensure equal opportunity in their registered apprenticeship program.
- Requires sponsors to analyze their workforce and take affirmative actions to employ individuals with a disability.
- Establishes a utilization goal of 7% for individuals with a disability within a sponsor's registered apprenticeship programs.
- Requires sponsors to conduct a workforce analysis by occupation and availability analysis by major occupation group.
- Clarifies certain minimum outreach and recruitment efforts that are required for all sponsors, and additional efforts that sponsors with affirmative action programs will take if they find themselves to be underutilizing members of a protected class.
- Requires a sponsor to assign an individual to oversee the sponsor's equal employment opportunity efforts.
- Allows sponsors to use any method of selecting apprentices that complies with the UGESP, rather than using one of four specified methods under the current rule.
- Requires sponsors to conduct periodic orientation and information sessions for those connected with the registered apprenticeship programs, including anti-harassment training.
- Allows the department to sanction noncompliant sponsors by suspending their right to register new apprentices while they implement corrective affirmative action plans. Under current law, the department is authorized only to deregister noncompliant sponsors.
- Specifies exactly what sponsors are required to do for outreach recruitment.
- Provides more flexibility for sponsors to use any selection method for apprentices, as long as it is not discriminatory. Current rule requires the sponsor to use one of four selection methods.
- Streamlines and simplifies sponsor's obligations while maintaining broad and effective equal employment opportunity protections for applicants or apprentices in a registered apprenticeship program.
In addition, the rule provides sponsors 180 days to create a revised EEO plan and one year to bring their registered apprenticeship program into compliance with the new requirements and the department will provide technical assistance as needed.
Updates to ch. DWD 295 are only technical in nature and update cross references to the new sections in ch. DWD 296.