BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.21.102 and 24.21.1003 and the adoption of New Rules I through IV pertaining to Montana's registered apprenticeship program and recognition of pre-apprenticeship programs
NOTICE OF AMENDMENT AND ADOPTION
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On September 10, 2021, the Department of Labor and Industry (department) published MAR Notice No. 24-21-378 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment and adoption of the above-stated rules at page 1098 of the 2021 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 17.
2. The department held a public hearing in Helena on October 12, 2021, over the Zoom videoconference and telephonic platform at which members of the public commented. Written comments were received during the public comment period.
3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments made to MAR Notice No. 24-21-378. The department has determined that it is in the best interest of all parties to proceed only with the amendments to ARM 24.21.102 and adoption of New Rules I through IV that pertain to department recognition of pre-apprenticeship programs. The department shall submit a new proposal notice amending the apprenticeship-to-journeyworker ratio and variances in ARM 24.21.1003; therefore, no comments pertaining to apprenticeship-to-journeyworker ratio and variances are addressed herein.
4. A summary of the comments and the department's responses to comments pertaining to the adoption of the pre-apprenticeship program rules are as follows:
COMMENT 1: A commenter proposed that a sponsor employer should not be allowed to request a 30-day extension of the time that a pre-apprentice may work in a calendar year before the pre-apprentice counts towards the apprentice-to-journeyworker ratio under ARM 24.21.1003.
RESPONSE 1: The department acknowledges the comment. The department determines that this is a reasonable change to the rules to ensure quality training and safety on the job site for all parties. New Rule III (24.21.1207) is amended below.
COMMENT 2: A commenter proposed that participants in the pre-apprenticeship program should be paid pursuant to 39-6-108, MCA, apprentice wage rate.
RESPONSE 2: The department acknowledges the comment. The apprentice wage rate set by 39-6-108, MCA, is only applicable to "an apprentice employed for construction services, as defined in 18-2-104;" 39-6-108(1), MCA. "'Construction services' means work performed by an individual in building construction, heavy construction, highway construction, and remodeling work . . . The term does not include . . . engineering, superintendence, management, office, or clerical work on a public works contract[.]" 18-2-104(3)(a) through (b)(i), MCA. The apprentice wage rate set by 39-6-108(1), MCA, also does not apply to "[w]ages paid under an individual's written apprenticeship agreement registered with the department as of October 1, 2006[.]" 39-6-108(3), MCA.
Many sponsor employers in the department's Registered Apprenticeship Program are not engaged in construction services, and 39-6-108, MCA, does not apply to occupations outside construction services. As of October 2021, registered apprentices are working in occupations including nursing assistants, medical records specialists, medical transcriptionists, health technologists, phlebotomists, childcare workers, bookkeepers, computer-support specialists, computer programmers, accounting and auditing clerks, shoe and leather workers, health education specialists, interior designers, cooks and restaurant workers, beer brewers, paralegals, legal assistants, butchers and meat cutters, musicians and singers, and travel agents. The department seeks to maintain flexibility in the type of workforce training programs and occupations that may develop pre-apprenticeship programs. Because the wages paid to pre-apprentices are not all subject to the requirements of 39-6-108, MCA, the department shall not include this requirement in rule.
Wages for pre-apprentices shall be established by department policy. When reviewing a pre-apprenticeship program for recognition, the department shall review the pre-apprenticeship wage rate in relation to the occupation's established wage scales, applicable laws, rules, and industry standards.
COMMENT 3: A commenter proposed that a sponsor employer for a pre-apprenticeship program must have at least a 60% completion rate of all past and current apprentices to qualify as a sponsor employer for pre-apprenticeship programs.
RESPONSE 3: The department acknowledges the comment. The department seeks to maintain flexibility in the type of workforce training programs and occupations that may develop pre-apprenticeship programs. To maintain this flexibility, the department stated in NEW RULE II (ARM 24.21.1203(1)) that "[t]he department may consider any relevant information when reviewing the program's recognition application." This information may include information maintained by the department, such as a sponsor employer's completion rate of past and current apprentices. The department shall not require sponsor employers to demonstrate specific past completion rates for apprentices due to the wide variety of occupations that participate in the department's Registered Apprenticeship Program.
COMMENT 4: A commenter proposed that participants in a pre-apprenticeship program shall be issued a card stating the name of the sponsor employer and the start dates and end dates of the pre-apprenticeship program.
RESPONSE 4: The department acknowledges the comment. Due to the wide variety of occupations and programs involved in the department's Registered Apprenticeship Program, the department shall consider the types of documentation necessary for pre-apprentices as a matter of department policy. The department shall issue appropriate documentation specific to each type of occupation and workforce training program seeking recognition of a pre-apprenticeship program.
5. The department has adopted New Rule I (24.21.1201), New Rule II (24.21.1203), and New Rule IV (24.21.1209) as proposed.
6. The department has amended ARM 24.21.102 and New Rule III (24.21.1207) with the following changes, stricken matter interlined, new matter underlined:
24.21.102 DEFINITIONS As used in this subchapter, the following definitions apply:
(1) and (2) remain as proposed.
(3) "Apprentice-to-journey worker occupations" means inside wiremen and residential electricians subject to the license requirements in ARM Title 24, chapter 141; plumbers subject to the license requirements in ARM Title 24, chapter 180; sprinkler fitters subject to the license requirements in ARM Title 24, chapter 144; and elevator constructors subject to the license requirements in ARM Title 24, chapter 142.
(4) through (8) remain as proposed but are renumbered (3) through (7).
AUTH: 39-6-101, MCA
IMP: 39-6-101, 39-6-105, MCA
REASON: There is a reasonable necessity to remove the definition for "apprentice-to-journey worker occupations" from the proposed amendments to ARM 24.21.102 because the definition does not apply to New Rules I through IV, department recognition of pre-apprenticeship programs. The definitions for "Apprenticeship articulation agreement" in ARM 24.21.102(2) and "Pre-apprenticeship" in ARM 24.21.102(4) remain as proposed.
NEW RULE III (24.21.1207) PROGRAM RECOGNITION AND APPRENTICESHIP ARTICULATION AGREEMENT (1) through (2)(b) remain as proposed.
(c) the sponsor employer may employ one pre-apprentice, who shall not be counted towards the traditional apprentice ratio under ARM 24.21.1003, for a period of not more than 100 days from January 1 through December 31 of a single calendar year.
A sponsor employer may ask the department for an extension of employment of the pre-apprentice of no more than 30 days without having the pre-apprentice count under ARM 24.21.1003.
AUTH: 39-6-101, MCA
IMP: 39-6-101, 39-6-103, 39-6-106, MCA
REASON: There is a reasonable necessity to amend the new rule to ensure quality training and safety for all parties, including pre-apprentices, apprentices, and journeyworkers in all occupations. Allowing a pre-apprentice 100 days to work for a sponsor employer in a calendar year before that pre-apprentice counts towards the apprentice-to-journeyworker ratio in ARM 24.21.1003 is adequate time to allow the pre-apprentice exposure to the occupation. One hundred days of work per calendar year also allows a pre-apprentice to work the majority of traditional academic breaks, including summer and winter, if applicable to that occupation.
/s/ QUINLAN L. O'CONNOR
Quinlan L. O'Connor
Alternate Rule Reviewer
/s/ LAURIE ESAU
Laurie Esau, Commissioner
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
Certified to the Secretary of State October 26, 2021.