WI’s Walker Targeting Job Opportunities for Students and Young Adults

Walker suspends apprentice rules

In an executive order that was quietly released, Gov. Scott Walker recently suspended rules requiring contractors on state construction projects to employ workers under the state’s apprenticeship program. The rules have existed since 1971. One Milwaukee-area lawmaker is protesting Walker’s order, saying it will hurt efforts to employ minorities in the construction trades in Wisconsin.

In the apprenticeship program, which is overseen by the state Department of Workforce Development, contractors provide on-the-job training in a skilled trade to apprentices and also pay them wages as they attend classes at a technical college or other institution. The program is carried out at the local level by the state’s 94 local trade committees, boards staffed by local employer and employee representatives.

The program is voluntary. In 1971, to encourage contractors to join it, Democratic Gov. Pat Lucey first issued an executive order requiring contractors awarded state construction contracts to participate in the program and employ apprentices. In 2005, in another order, Doyle, also a Democrat, revised the requirements, hoping to strengthen them and step up state enforcement. These rules stood until Walker’s own order earlier this month.

So he isn’t content going after the middle class worker he now wants to make sure that ‘middle class’ no longer exists in his state. Does Walker understand what he is doing? It appears he’s hell bent on making Wisconsin citizens work for nothing in return and that his cuts are strictly designed to target the most in need.

For many years, the state apprenticeship program has been a focus of efforts to diversify to construction trades in Wisconsin. State Rep. Barbara Toles (D-Milwaukee) says suspending the rules “will negatively impact people’s ability to gain access to apprenticeships, especially minorities and women.”

According to the representative, the apprenticeship program “is practically the only path to employment in the construction trades for minorities and women.”

Walker’s executive order, his 18th, was not distributed as a press release, unlike the prior 17, each of which can still be read on the “Media Center” section of the governor’s website.

John Mielke, vice-president of the Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade association representing non-union contractors, told The Daily Reporter in January that the first thing he’d like the new governor to do “is rescind Executive Order 108” – Doyle order requiring apprentices on state projects. Mielke said DWD, in response to the order, had created 50 pages of new rules. “It has taken on a life of its own. It’s become a multi-headed beast, and I would urge the governor to kill it quickly.”

Maybe this idiot’s entire goal is to force people to leave his state? Maybe that is his only plan to offset what the Koch Brothers won’t pay so he thinks forcing people to relocate will save WI money.

Scotty sure is making it easier for Wisconsinites to recall him in January 2012. In fact it appears he’s hell bent on that too.


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