News Release

US Department of Labor applauds adoption of apprenticeship recommendation by International Labor Organization

Announced at 2023 International Labor Conference in Geneva

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Labor today welcomed the adoption of an apprenticeship recommendation by the International Labor Organization, an action announced at the 2023 International Labor Conference in Geneva on June 16, 2023.

The recommendation provides member states authoritative guidance on establishing a regulatory framework to support quality apprenticeships while promoting diversity and inclusion. The first ILO standard adopted since 2019, the recommendation received overwhelming support in a vote of governments and worker and employer organizations.

The adoption of the ILO recommendation closely reflects input from the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Office of the Solicitor and Employment and Training Administration, and follows more than two years of discussion.

“The adoption of the International Labor Organization’s recommendation will help promote apprenticeships that deliver both quality and equity for workers and employers around the world,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “The recommendation includes principles essential to ensuring that apprenticeships effectively develop workers who are skilled, motivated, productive and empowered.”

Some of the important principles include adequate remuneration or other financial compensation for apprentices, undertaking effective measures to make sure apprenticeships are free from discrimination, violence and harassment, and ensuring apprentices have rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The new ILO standard comes as the U.S. is strengthening apprenticeships across diverse populations, communities and industries. The department is focused on strategic expansion of Registered Apprenticeships that create earn-as-you-learn, high-quality career pathways for workers while developing a skilled workforce for employers. Registered Apprenticeships help workers develop relevant industry skills through paid work experience, classroom instruction and provide a nationally recognized portable credential.

Quality apprenticeships — such as those found in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and other work-based learning models — improve access to in-demand quality jobs for all Americans, and particularly for those in underrepresented and underserved populations.

“The adoption of the International Labor Conference’s recommendations on the attributes of quality apprenticeships aligns with our efforts to expand and diversify apprenticeships in the U.S., while opening opportunities for workers and supporting employers’ needs for skilled workers,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Brent Parton. “This document will serve as an effective blueprint for strengthening the apprenticeship laws and practices of nations around the world.”        

Learn more about the department’s international work.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
June 21, 2023
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Media Contact: Christine Feroli
Media Contact: Ryan Honick
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