Rick Rice (L.A.)
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Department of Industrial Relations has taken immediate action to implement Governor Pete Wilson's Executive Order revoking state affirmative action requirements exceeding state or federal law, Director Lloyd W. Aubry, Jr. announced.
"The Governor's Executive Order sets California on a new course offering everyone equal opportunity through the elimination of special preferences, "Aubry said. "In this step toward a truly color-blind society, DIR has moved swiftly to implement the Governor's order."
DIR found that only its apprenticeship program exceeded affirmative action requirements set by state or federal law. Like many states, California operates a state apprenticeship program under the approval of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprenticeship Training (BAT). In California, the California Apprenticeship Council (CAC) serves as the apprenticeship policymaking body, while the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) acts as administrator of apprenticeship. The Executive Order means several changes in California's apprenticeship standards.
As the administrator of a BAT-approved apprenticeship program, the CAC and DAS must follow federal requirements. States may add their own requirements as well. Federal regulations impose affirmative action obligations on apprenticeship program sponsors, which DAS in turn must impose on sponsors in California.
Immediately following the issuance of the Governor's Executive Order, Aubry directed DAS to make several changes where DAS policy exceeded federal affirmative action requirements. California's affirmative action requirements for apprenticeship program sponsors now will conform with federal regulations. Specifically, the changes are:
Aubry emphasized that these changes will not impact minority participation in apprenticeship programs. "These changes will not adversely impact equal opportunity efforts in apprenticeship," he said. "They remove excess state requirements. Our commitment to ensuring equality of opportunity has not changed."
Aubry noted that the percentage of active apprentices in California who are members of minorities groups has been steadily increasing, reaching 46.2 percent in 1994.
Additionally, like all Cabinet agencies, DIR's goals and timetables for hiring now will reflect the labor market for a particular job classification rather than the general labor market. Likewise, to best ensure equality of opportunity, DIR also will conduct outreach efforts to reach qualified applicants from all segments of the workforce.