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Maryland Bill Introduced to Ensure Employers Fully Fund Apprenticeship Programs



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Freshmen delegate Cory McCray has only been representing Maryland’s 45th district for a matter of weeks, but his commitment to the state’s workers is already on display.  McCray is working on a bill that would make construction apprenticeships more affordable by ensuring that employers fully fund their apprenticeship programs.  It is his hope that in so doing more apprentices will complete their programs and move forward into a high-paying careers.  

The average apprenticeship program can last three to five years and is industry-driven, meaning that it is often partially to fully paid for by an employer, employer association, or joint management and labor program.  Because of the lack of requirement clarity, McCray explains, some apprentices are asked to contribute as much as 50 percent of a program’s cost at a time when they may be working full-time and simultaneously attending a minimum of 144 classroom hours.  

Currently, almost half of apprentices in Maryland do not complete their programs, according to McCray’s office:

In 2010, on average, apprentices who cancelled their apprenticeship program but remained in the industry accrued a yearly wage of $20,915. In 2010, on average, apprentices who completed their apprenticeship program accrued a yearly wage of $45,904. An apprentice that never completes his/her apprenticeship program will, on average, accrue a loss of $25,000 yearly. This has a significant impact on the labor community and the State of Maryland.

McCray’s bill would eliminate the financial barriers to apprenticeship completion by requiring contractors and subcontractors to pay the full cost of apprenticeship programs on public work projects. This would allow workers to earn higher wages and get a better return on their time investment. The bill also aims to promote transparency by requiring contractors to keep a list of each apprentice and program in which the apprentice takes part.  

For McCray, the fight for apprentice quality of life is personal.  He was previously a small business owner and graduate of an apprenticeship program through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Baltimore City Community College.  

His bill awaits a hearing from a house committee.


One Comment on “Maryland Bill Introduced to Ensure Employers Fully Fund Apprenticeship Programs”

  1. Way to go Mr. McCray ! Hope this goes through.

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