Maine Department of Labor Proposes Rules Changes to Assist Students in Career and Technical Education Programs
July 29, 2014
Call for public comment on changes to training programs for minors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2014 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor is calling for public comment on proposed changes to rules surrounding job training programs for minors. The public hearing will be held on August 22, 10 a.m. to noon at the SafetyWorks! Institute at the Department of Labor Building, 45 Commerce Drive in Augusta.
The purpose of the proposed change is to allow students enrolled in approved Career and Technical educational programs to train on specific equipment, located at a business, that is necessary for their course of study. Because of the size and expense of some modern, standard industrial equipment, CTE schools cannot afford to purchase or maintain that equipment solely for training students. The changes would allow students to train on the equipment at a business under strict supervision. Businesses hosting the training will have to comply with a number of conditions under the proposed rules.
“Many technical educational programs are at a disadvantage because some of our labor laws have not kept up with the changes in technology and job training,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “These changes will keep students safe but provide the opportunity to gain specific skills on updated equipment that our schools cannot afford to buy. This helps our students start on a great career and our businesses remain competitive.”
The proposed changes affect the “Rules Governing Hazardous Occupations for Minors Under the Age of Eighteen in Non-Agricultural Employment.” The link to the proposed rules is posted below. An accessible version will also be available.
“These changes are a result of collaboration between the Departments of Labor and Education,” said Commissioner of Education James Rier. “Our CTE students need access to training equipment so that the skills they learn in the CTE programs match the skills needed in their industries, and the Department of Labor responded.”
“The top priority is to keep students safe while using the equipment,” said Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “We have built a number of provisions into the rules that require close collaboration and supervision between the business and the CTE staff. Employers training students must meet specific criteria to ensure safety and compliance. At the same time, the changes provide the employer with a highly-trained future workforce, so it is worth their investment of time and personnel to do it the right way from the start.”
There are a number of changes proposed, including redefining "Student Learner" to include the students in a CTE cooperative program; defining a “CTE-Student” as one who is enrolled in an approved CTE program offered from a CTE center or region as defined in Title 20-A M.R.S.A., Chapter 313, §8301-A, §8306-B, §8401 and §8451; and requiring the CTE program to maintain control over the educational experience including the schedule and educational performance deliverables through a written agreement.
The changes require not only that the CTE program include close supervision by an experienced adult who has direct line of sight and within the student’s hearing range but also that the CTE program provide basic safety training for the CTE student related to the selected program and field of work prior to the student performing work that would otherwise be prohibited by the rules. Per the changes, all apprentice, CTE student or student-learner programs must have a written agreement that provides a description of the job, processes, expectations, schedule of work and name of the individual; the employer and school coordinator or principal must sign the agreement.
The new rules also give guidance for situations where 17-year-old high-school graduates who have completed an approved training program but cannot currently be employed in a hazardous occupation due to their age. Under the proposed rules, the graduate may work in a hazardous occupation in which training under an apprentice or student-learner program has been completed as provided in this section, even though the youth is not yet 18 years of age. Federal law allows such employment. For example, this would allow a 17-year-old who graduates after completing several years of training to avoid waiting one to three months until his or her birthday to be employed in his or her trained profession—with that profession being one currently prohibited for individuals under the age of 18.
Last, the rules changes detail the definition, program overview and hazardous occupations for Junior Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Persons, previously not identified under Title 26. A paid or volunteer junior emergency medical service person who is 16 or 17 years of age may partake in allowed activities as defined under the proposed rules and in accordance with the Maine Emergency Medical Service Act of 1982 (32 M.R.S.A. Chapter 2-B), and the Maine EMS Rules.
Written comment can also be submitted by September 3 by 4:30 p.m. to Susan Wasserott at Maine Department of Labor, 54 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0054 or 207-621-5096 or Susan.Wasserott@maine.gov .
These rules are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Standards. Additional information about employment laws in Maine are available at the Bureau of Labor Standards’ website at http://www.maine.gov/labor/bls/index.shtml .