RAP vs. IRAP – How does the Arborist Apprenticeship Program Work?

On February 17, President Biden rescinded a 2017 Executive Order on Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program’s (IRAP), thereby ending that program. This move has raised questions about what this means for TCIA’s Arborist Apprenticeship Program. The 2017 order being rescinded will not impact the Arborist Apprenticeship program. TCIA’s Arborist Apprenticeship Guidelines are certified by the US Department of Labor (DOL), and our members then use these guidelines to register their own apprenticeship program. The programs our members register with the DOL (using TCIA’s guidelines) are part of the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), not the IRAP. The RAP has been around since 1937 and is widely accepted in many industries across the United States.

Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP) are apprenticeship programs that have been validated by the US Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency. Apprentices are paid, provided both structured on-the-job learning and classroom learning, are supervised by an experienced mentor, and typically offer an industry-recognized credential at the completion of the program. Construction is the most common field for these programs, but they can be found in a variety of industries.

The Arborist Apprenticeship Program is a key tool which can be used to recruit, train, and retain new and old employees. Businesses who offer an arborist apprenticeship realize many benefits, such as higher-skilled employees, a committed team, employee flexibility, increased productivity, and lower recruiting costs. These benefits are realized both for the businesses with these programs, but also for the apprentice who gets a good paying job while also increasing professionalism within the tree care industry.

TCIA is committed to increasing professionalism in the industry and making it easier to recruit and train employees, and the Arborist Apprenticeship Program is a key tool to accomplish these goals. We are pleased that President Biden is committed to the Registered Apprenticeship Program, and we look forward to working with our members to implement programs that benefit their businesses.

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