A bill to reform the required amount of state-mandated journeyman supervision for apprentices in the trades cleared the final legislative hurdle on Tuesday, passing the state Senate 18-14. The bill, AB 508, now goes to the governor for his expected signature.

From The Daily Reporter:

The state now allows the Department of Workforce Development to set ratios determining how many journeymen should be overseeing the work of apprentices who are looking to get into the industry. The current rules vary from to trade to trade.

The mandated ratio for carpenters, for instance, starts at one-to-one when there is only one apprentice in a given class. But for every apprentice who joins after that, three more journeymen must be added.

John Mielke, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, said that setting journeymen-to-apprentices ratios at one-to-one for all trades would help the construction industry combat an ongoing shortage of skilled workers. The industry’s predicament has become even more dire now that the Tawainese manufacturing giant Foxconn plans employ as many as 10,000 construction workers in building a 20 million-square-foot manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant, he said.

“Wisconsin is behind other states, including:  Iowa, Utah, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska, which all have 1-1 apprenticeship to journey-person ratios,” Mielke said. “The federal government routinely approves 1-1 ratios for its apprenticeship programs. Michigan just passed a law that allows 3 electrical apprentices to serve under 1 skilled worker. AB 508 will help get more individuals into the skilled trades without costing taxpayers any more money or endangering safety.”

Mielke was a guest on RightWisconsin Conversations in January to discuss the bill.