Among the key goals of EERE’s Recovery Act programs is the creation of American jobs through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. This goal brings to mind images of physicists or biochemists working in labs to develop new technologies, or architects and mechanical engineers designing high-performance or green buildings. While Recovery Act projects do require the work of scientists and engineers, they also employ people working in the skilled trades, such as electricians and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) mechanics. Workers in the skilled trades perform vital work in building, installing, renovating, and repairing energy efficient building systems and renewable energy equipment.
A career in the skilled trades generally begins with an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction in which a worker learns the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly-skilled occupation. Apprenticeship programs may be sponsored by individual employers, joint employer and labor groups, or employer associations and must meet the Department of Labor (DOL) requirements. Many of EERE’s Recovery Act projects include not only master- and journeyman-level tradespersons, but also apprentices developing skills in their particular trade.
In support of economic stimulus, EERE’s Recovery Act projects extend Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) protection to workers at all levels, including apprentices. The DBA regulations require that everyone contributing to a Recovery Act project is paid the prevailing local wage for their work. This helps to stimulate the economy in communities across the country right now, while preparing American workers for the future.
For more information and specific guidance on the use of apprentices in Recovery Act projects, including information on DBA requirements, visit this Department of Labor website: http://www.dol.gov/compliance/topics/wages-apprenticeships.htm