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Tell DOL To Withdraw Its Restrictive New Apprenticeship Rule

Click here to send an automated message to the DOL urging them to withdraw new apprenticeship rule.

On Jan. 17, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor published a proposed rule that would make significant and controversial revisions to the National Apprenticeship System, which will affect ABC members, chapters, apprentices and other industry stakeholders participating in government-registered apprenticeship programs.

While ABC supports government-registered apprenticeship programs and offers more than 450 such education programs across the country as part of its all-of-the-above approach to meet the workforce needs of the construction industry, the proposed rule implements dozens of burdensome and costly new recordkeeping requirements and reduces flexibility for GRAP sponsors and employers.

ABC is concerned this proposed rule will only exacerbate the construction industry’s workforce shortage, with over half a million new workers needed in 2024 alone, by discouraging ABC contractors, ABC chapter GRAP providers and other stakeholders from continued participation and future expansion of the GRAP system.

In short, the proposal will discourage participation by construction industry employers and GRAP providers and likely reduce the number of apprentices enrolled and graduating from GRAPs. Of note, DOL data suggests that, in FY2023, construction industry GRAPs had roughly 250,000 enrolled apprentices and graduated 45,000. Simply put, the current GRAP system is already unappealing to many construction industry stakeholders and is not attracting enough new apprentices or graduating enough skilled apprentices to meet industry workforce needs. This proposal will make the GRAP system even worse.


Specifically, the rule proposes expansive new recordkeeping for employers and sponsors regarding employment decisions, apprenticeship agreements, records of apprentice performance and progress, wages and benefits and more. It also introduces a new mandate and related paperwork burdens requiring employers to verify that all journeyworkers involved in upskilling and supervising apprentices are qualified to do so. The rule provides little clarity on what would qualify as sufficient evidence to meet this requirement. Regardless of how this requirement is implemented, it will represent an onerous and costly new burden on employers that are required to verify undefined qualifications of the many journeyworkers frequently involved in on-the-job training of apprentices.

The proposal’s imposition of a new endpoint assessment requirement represents an unnecessarily prescriptive and burdensome change to existing GRAPs, which are already free to implement such assessments if sponsors and employers determine they are needed. The DOL should remove this requirement to prevent increasing administrative/recordkeeping costs, preserve flexibility and avoid a new impediment to apprentice recruitment/retention in GRAPs.

The rule has a concerning new obligation for GRAP providers to request information from employers regarding past labor law violations. The provision imposes new civil and criminal liability on employers and provides little clarity regarding the responsibility of sponsors to verify employer disclosures. The DOL should remove this overreaching requirement, and at a minimum must provide additional clarity to sponsors.

The proposal significantly reduces flexibility for sponsors and employers by eliminating competency-based and hybrid GRAPs, instead mandating rigid, multiyear, time-based standards. This change would shut out new sponsors and employers interested in these approaches, and may result in the deregistration of existing GRAPs utilizing these legitimate and tested models if sponsors and employers determine transitioning to a time-based model is not feasible.

Finally, at a time when the construction industry is constantly evolving to accommodate new technologies and innovations, the proposed rule instead makes the process of establishing new occupations as suitable for GRAPs more difficult through the new “suitability” test. I urge the DOL to lower paperwork requirements for suitability applications, shorten the approval timeline and enforce decision deadlines. The proposal’s new emphasis on preventing “splintering” is unnecessary, and the DOL should instead let industry determine whether new GRAPs are needed to meet the needs of the market.


As currently written, the proposed rule is a step backward for the GRAP system and will exacerbate the construction industry’s existing workforce development challenges. Tell the DOL to withdraw this proposed rule immediately and reconsider aspects of the rule that will increase costs and reduce GRAP participation. To guarantee access to high-quality, well-compensated careers in construction for as many Americans as possible, the DOL must instead focus on streamlining and modernizing GRAP regulations to ensure as many sponsors, employers and apprentices participate as possible. ABC National is urging ABC members to respond to its grassroots alert opposing this DOL proposal by March 18. Use the ABC Action App to connect with DOL and make your voice heard.

Building Triumph: Revealing the Winners of Central VA 2023 In-House Craft Competition

The atmosphere was electric, the pipes were humming and the air was buzzing with HVAC brilliance as we hosted our highly anticipated 2023 In-House Craft Competition for ABC-VA’s Central Virginia region. On November 17, nine apprentices across three disciplines came together to put their skills to the ultimate test and compete for a spot in the National Craft Competition (NCC) in Kissimmee, FL, in March 2024.

Each apprentice demonstrated unparalleled skill, dedication and a passion for their craft. Their achievements not only reflect personal excellence but also elevate the standards of our industry. Congratulations to all winners and competitors. First place in each trade will compete in the 2024 NCC.

⚡ Electrical2023 In House Craft Comp Sponsors Small
1st Place – Jhonatan Silva, Electriforce
2nd Place – Mitchell Becraft, ColonialWebb

💦 Plumbing
1st Place – Thomas Carter, Remco
2nd Place – Maurice Clanton, ColonialWebb
3rd Place – Jason Hyer, Atlantic Constructors, Inc.

1st Place – Gabriel Pena, Howell’s Heating and Air
2nd Place – Tyler Clarke, Atlantic Constructors, Inc.
3rd Place – Curtis Tinsley, Howell’s Heating and Air

A heartfelt thank you to all participants, judges and sponsors who contributed to the success of this event. Sponsors included Atlantic Constructors, Inc., Remco, Electriforce, ColonialWebb, Milwaukee, Torque Supply, White Cap and Synergy Technical Services. Your commitment to craftsmanship and innovation fuels the spirit of our industry.

As we celebrate these victories, we also look forward to the continued growth and success of our construction community. Congratulations to all the winners, and may your dedication inspire future generations!


01. All CV 2023 Competitors Cropped

L to R: Thomas Carter (1st, Plumbing); Jhonatan Silva (1st, Electrical); Mitchell Becraft (2nd, Electrical); Jason Hyer (3rd, Plumbing); Maurice Clanton (2nd, Plumbing); Curtis Tinsley (3rd, HVAC); Gabriel Pena (1st, HVAC); Alexis Pack; Tyler Clarke (2nd, HVAC)


Crafting Victory: Unveiling the Champions of Hampton Roads 2023 In-House Craft Showdown

HR 2023 In House Craft Winners USE
The ABC-VA Hampton Roads region held its annual craft competitions for the Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing apprenticeship training programs on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at their training facility in Norfolk, VA. This year was the first time holding an in-house plumbing competition in Hampton Roads! ABC-VA stands with immense pride, applauding the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts exhibited by each competitor. Their relentless commitment and hard work paved the way for a competition year that will be remembered for its exceptional standards and remarkable achievements.

Four skilled competitors in Electrical and Plumbing, and three in HVAC showcased their expertise, competing for the chance to represent their craft at the ABC National Craft Championships in Kissimmee, Florida, in March 2024. The apprentices competed in a compilation of an assigned, hands-on project, as well as a written exam.

Top Performers: Congratulations to the outstanding winners:

Gratitude to Instructors and Judges: The entire competition is made possible by our dedicated instructors and judges. We extend a heartfelt thank you to the following:

  • Instructors: [Electrical] Tim Cruise, Bill Johnson; [HVAC] Brian Gesick, Mike Gesick, Tom Gesick; [Plumbing] Bill Carley and Brandon Carley
  • Judges: Zach Leitner, REW Corporation; Tim Cruise, Power Electric; Art Shauchuk, HVAC Graduate; Tom Gesick, MTS Refrigeration; Mike Gesick, MTS Refrigeration; Brandon Carley, Southeastern Mechanical, Inc.; Brian Ryder, Southeastern Mechanical, Inc.; Marshal Brown, Southeastern Mechanical, Inc.

Sponsors Make It Happen: A big shout-out to our generous sponsors: Ferguson, MTS Refrigeration, and Southeastern Mechanical, Inc., for contributing the materials that made these competitions possible. Your support fuels the future of craftsmanship!

Here’s to a future shaped by the skilled hands and innovative minds of these remarkable apprentices! Please reach out to Jamie Carrow, Member Services & Education Director, with any questions about our apprenticeship training programs.

Circle of Winners: Multiple ABC-VA Member Companies Receive Awards at the 2023 ABC National Convention

ABC Virginia today announced multiple member companies won national awards presented during the 33rd annual Excellence in Construction Awards during ABC Convention 2023 in Orlando, Florida, on March 16. Categories include the Excellence in Construction Awards, National Safety Excellence Awards and IDE (Inclusion, Diversity & Equity) Awards, with some members identifying with other chapters.

Excellence in Construction® (EIC) Awards
The EIC awards are the construction industry’s leading national competition that honors general and specialty contractors for world-class, safe and innovative construction projects from across the country.

Hensel Phelps, Archer Hotel Tysons Corner—Eagle Winner
Hensel Phelps, Marriott International Headquarters Hotel and Office—Pyramid Winner
Harkins Builders, Inc., Brightview Columbia—Pyramid Winner, identifying with ABC Metro Washington
David Allen Company, Marriott HQ Hotel—Eagle Winner, identifying with ABC Metro Washington
Ruppert Landscape, A Washington DC Temple—Eagle Winner, identifying with ABC Metro Washington

National Safety Excellence Awards
The National Safety Excellence Award is given to members that have demonstrated remarkable achievements in leadership, safety and innovation. The awards were presented to 49 contractors across the country.

LEEBCOR Services—Excellence Winner
Hourigan—Pinnacle Winner

Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE) Awards
The National Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Excellence Awards recognize members that display exemplary IDE leadership in their company, workforce, supply chain and community with best-in-class recruitment policies, retention practices and training and mentoring programs.

Hensel Phelps—Excellence Winner, identifying with ABC Rocky Mountain


Archer Hotel HP Exterior 4

Excellence in Construction Eagle Award Winner – Archer Hotel Tysons Corner, Hensel Phelps

Forty-six ABC Virginia Members Named National, Top-Performing US Construction Contractors

2023 Top Performers LogoDulles, Virginia, March 7—Associated Builders and Contractors – Virginia (ABC-VA) today announced forty-six (46) member companies were named to Associated Builders and Contractors’ fifth annual Top Performers publication, which lists its contractor members that build the country’s most enduring, innovative, high-quality construction projects, ranked by work hours. The ABC-VA Chapter now holds the record for most Top Performers.

To be eligible, ABC-VA Top Performers achieved Gold status or higher in ABC’s STEP Safety Management System, which makes the top-performing contractors more than six times safer than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics industry average, according to ABC’s Safety Performance Report. The majority of the honorees also must earn ABC’s Accredited Quality Contractor credential, which recognizes commitment to corporate responsibility in quality, safety, talent management—including inclusion, diversity and equity—education and community relations.

“This year’s ABC Top Performers agree that culture is key,” said Michael Bellaman, president and CEO of ABC. “Not only is a strong corporate culture an essential component of a thriving and vibrant workplace, but it helps retain top talent, create safe and healthy jobsites and build better communities. We honor these top-performing contractors at ABC-VA that are placing the highest importance on investing in their people, health and safety, and innovation.”

Through STEP, AQC and other robust programs, ABC-VA’s Top Performers demonstrate they:

  • Sustain and grow their businesses, financially and economically
  • Offer market-competitive compensation, benefit and retirement packages
  • Commit to world-class safety
  • Commit to workforce development, education and creating career opportunities
  • Commit to an inclusive and diverse work environment
  • Develop opportunities for their employees to achieve their career dreams
  • Cultivate committed leadership

ABC-VA’s 2023 Top Performers


Allan Myers Balfour Beatty Branch Builds
Brite Electric Brothers Mechanical, Inc. Coakley & Williams Construction ColonialWebb Contractors
Comfort Systems of Virginia, Inc. DAVIS Construction Delaware Elevator, Inc. Donohoe Construction Company
Etolin Strait Development Group, LLC Forrester Construction GovSolutions, Inc. Heartland Construction, Inc.
Helix Electric Hensel Phelps Hoar Construction, LLC Hourigan
Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. Hudgins Contracting Corp. JRC Mechanical Kwest Group, LLC
LEEBCOR Services, LLC Lithko Contracting LLC M.C. Dean, Inc. MIG GOV, LLC
Miller & Long Co., Inc. Power Design, Inc. Prospect Waterproofing Co. REW Corporation
S.W. Funk Industrial Contractors, Inc. SAW Contracting, Inc. Scott-Long Construction, Inc. Shapiro & Duncan, Inc.
Skanska Building, Inc. Tazewell Contracting Tecta America Zero Company Telligent Masonry, LLC
TST Construction TST Roofing W.M. Jordan Company Warfel Construction Company
Watson Electrical Construction WCS Construction, LLC

The ABC Top Performers lists identify the Top 250 Performers, Top General Contractors, Top Trade Contractors, Top Electrical Contractors, Top Plumbing/HVAC Contractors, Top Specialty Contractors and Top Performers by Market, all of which have earned the elite Accredited Quality Contractor credential. The Top Performers with Special Designations hold one or more special designations. The Top Performers were ranked by the number of hours worked in 2021, as reported in their 2022 STEP applications. The rankings also include lists of top-performing companies in 18 market segments, such as government, health care, infrastructure, military, retail, religious, high tech, airport and sports complexes.

View the 2023 Top Performers lists at

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 22,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 68 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at   

ABC-VA’s Sherrie Dickerson Honored as Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador at DOLI’s 85th Anniversary Celebration

Sherrie Dickerson

Sherrie Dickerson, ABC-VA Education Coordinator

ABC-VA is proud to announce Education Coordinator, Sherrie Dickerson, has been honored as a Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador.

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry celebrated 85 years of Registered Apprenticeship on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Included in the celebration were awards for Outstanding Apprentices, Apprenticeship Ambassadors, Service Awards, and High-Volume Sponsors.

ABC-VA’s own Apprenticeship Director, Sherrie Dickerson, was honored as a Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador. Sherrie was selected because of her passion and energies to help individuals, families, neighborhoods, towns, and the Commonwealth. Since her arrival with ABC-VA in March of 2020, Sherrie has been a pillar of strength and leadership of the programs in Richmond, managing related instruction for over 500 apprentices each year in Central Virginia. In a unique environment, Sherrie arrives before classes begin at 7 am each morning and does not stop until she knows that all of her students and instructors have been taken care of.

In 2022, Sherrie fielded two competitors in ABC National’s Craft Competition with the HVAC competitor bringing home the Silver Medal. In 2023, she will send five competitors to the NCC. Sherrie takes time each day to talk to students and instructors personally about their lives inside and outside of the classroom. She communicates with employers on a regular basis to keep them abreast of what is happening in the classroom to make sure their instruction there is reinforced on the job. She does it all with a smile because she is truly proud of them and wants everyone to succeed.

Several ABC-VA members were also recognized for their apprenticeship accomplishments and service awards. Honorees included were:

M.C. Dean, Inc., celebrating 71 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor and having the Largest Registered Apprenticeship Program in the Region (Loudoun County).  Additionally, Erin May was honored as a Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador
Carter Machinery, celebrating 57 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor
and having the Largest Registered Apprenticeship Program in the Region (Hanover County)
Atlantic Constructors, Inc.
, celebrating 67 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor. On hand to receive this award were Terrence Kerner, Heather Tippett, and Bill Cooper
Bay Electric Company, celebrating 54 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor
BUHL Electric Co., celebrating 51 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor

We thank Sherrie and these special ABC-VA members for their dedication and commitment to our workforce.

As Commissioner Gary Pan stated, “Registered Apprenticeship was first established in Virginia with the signing of the Virginia Apprenticeship Act in 1938. It has been a training system that produces highly skilled workers to meet the demands of employers competing in a global economy, through a combination of on-the-job training and related technical instruction.  It is a ‘win-win’ approach to workforce development for employers and employees, while rebuilding the Virginia Economy. Registered Apprenticeship is an ideal model for employers to develop their current and future workforce by providing on-the-job training and selecting occupation specific Related Technical Instruction.”


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