Public works estimated to cost $1 million or more must require that at least 15 percent of the labor hours be performed by apprentices enrolled in approved apprenticeship training programs. This requirement applies to public works contracts awarded by state agencies, school districts, and four-year institutions of higher education. It does not apply to agencies headed by a separately elected official. For public works by the Department of Transportation, the requirement applies to public works estimated to cost $2 million or more.
Awarding entities may adjust the apprentice utilization requirement for specific projects for the following reasons:
The awarding entity of the public work contract, within existing resources, must monitor contractor and subcontractor apprenticeship hours. Contracts must specify that apprenticeship utilization goals should be met, monetary incentives for meeting the goals, monetary penalties for not meeting the goals, and an expected cost value included in the bid associated with meeting the goal. The contractor must report any noncompliance no later than the final project acceptance to the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).
Municipality means every city, county, town, port district, district, or other public agency authorized by law to require the execution of public work, except drainage districts, diking districts, diking and drainage improvement districts, drainage improvement districts, diking improvement districts, consolidated diking and drainage improvement districts, consolidated drainage improvement districts, consolidated diking improvement districts, irrigation districts, or other districts authorized by law for the reclamation or development of waste or undeveloped lands.
Public works contracts awarded by a municipality estimated to cost more than $1 million must require no less than 15 percent of the labor hours be performed by apprentices. Municipalities are added to the existing laws related to apprenticeship utilization, including:
Public housing authorities are exempt from the apprenticeship utilization requirements. L&I, rather than the Department of Enterprise Services (DES), must provide information and technical assistance to affected agencies and municipalities, and collect specified apprenticeship utilization data. DES must make sample contract language available and provide contract administration advice.
Any apprenticeship utilization standards established by local law or ordinance that are more favorable to apprentices remain in effect.
PRO: The bill will help create a more diverse and local workforce and will create job placements for apprentices. The bill should add the subcontractor language back into the bill because that makes them responsible for their own part of the project. We must create new opportunities for apprenticeships to improve workforce.
CON: The substitute version of the bill is better because the current bill has an expansion of requirements but no uniformity. The substitute version had specific language making the general contractor not liable for another contractor's non-compliance. The bill mandates more utilization but does not increase access to apprenticeship programs. There are not enough programs to meet the demand.
OTHER: There should only be one threshold for apprenticeship utilization at $2 million. It is difficult to meet utilization goals on smaller projects and it is difficult for smaller jurisdictions to get responsive bids. There is no pathway for success for smaller ports that do not currently have apprenticeship utilization requirements.