ABC of Wisconsin: Statement on AB 508 becoming law

Statement from chapter President John Mielke:

“Thank you, Governor Walker, and AB 508’s authors State Senator Kapenga and State Representative Hutton. Setting journeymen-to-apprentices ratios at one-to-one for all construction trades will help the construction industry combat an ongoing shortage of skilled workers.

“Before this change, construction employers were not able to hire as many apprentices as they wanted to train because the regulations were prohibitive, if not convoluted. For example, if you wanted 1 painter apprentice, you needed 1 skilled worker to oversee them. But, if you wanted to bring on 4 painters, you needed 12 skilled workers to oversee them. Laborer is 2 skilled for 1 apprentice until you get to 10 apprentices, at which point it jumps to 22 skilled workers and thereafter 5 more skilled workers for each additional apprentice.

“Wisconsin was behind other states – Iowa, Utah, North Dakota, Colorado, and Nebraska have 1-1 ratios. The federal government routinely approves 1-1 ratios for its apprenticeship programs. Michigan just passed a law that allows 3 electrical apprentices to serve under 1 skilled worker.

“AB 508 will help get more skilled workers to get into the building trades without costing taxpayers any more money or endangering safety.”

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