Columbus, OH, tests plan to increase apprenticeships, local hires

By Kim Slowey
Nov. 2, 2017

Dive Brief:

  • The city of Columbus, OH, is testing a new construction apprenticeship and local hiring plan for public projects that it hopes will boost the local construction workforce, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
  • The agreement between the city and the Columbus Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, requires the organization to host apprenticeship fairs, use 20% Columbus and 25% regional residents on the project, and collect five cents for every hour each member works to help fund an apprentice scholarship fund. City officials said non-union contractors will also be able to bid the project.
  • The first project to operate under the program is the construction of an $8 million firehouse. The local chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America expressed concern that the new workforce requirements would make it more difficult for contractors to bid on projects competitively.

Dive Insight:

It’s not uncommon for state and local governments to specify hiring requirements for publicly funded projects. Local activists often see it as a way to get a return on invested taxpayer money. However, while the goal of using as many locals as possible is not one with which many would disagree, the details of these initiatives are up for debate.

First, in some markets, contractors have difficulty finding enough workers to meet local mandates. For example, contractors working on the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit were fined almost $3 million through March of this year for failing to meet the local hiring requirements laid out by the city. By all accounts, the contractors did their best to recruit local workers, but the skilled talent pool was just too thin.

(Read More)

Marino Introduces New Jobs Law (NY)

By Jim Rondenelli August 15, 2017 12:17 PM

Joined by local union leaders and workers at City Hall, Utica Councilman Joe Marino introduced legislation he says will bring good paying jobs to Utica and skilled craftsmanship to City projects.

Marino says the new law would require contractors that win a bid in the City of Utica over $250,000 to have an apprenticeship program built into their company.

He says the jobs law would help put families back to work. Marino says under the apprenticeship program, they’ll get to earn while they learn and become skilled labor under the tutelage of skilled craftsmen.

Marino says there are about 750 certified apprenticeship contractors throughout the state.
Representatives from LIUNA Local 35, Plumber And Pipefitter Local 112 and IBEW Local 43 attended today’s announcement.

(See Article)

The Answer to America’s Skilled Labor Problem

Katherine S Newman, Hella Winston
Jul 24, 2017

Very few policy ideas excite both parties in this period of political polarization. Apprenticeship and the renaissance of technical education is, however, one of them. The Obama administration invested millions to launch a federal apprenticeship office, while President Trump has made it one of his signature ideas as he tries to address the re-industrialization of economically depressed regions of the country.

Twin goals are at play on the right and the left: the revival of manufacturing industries, which are desperate for skilled labor, and the need to develop pathways to good jobs-especially for non-university-bound youth-that technical high schools, community colleges, and training programs have been trying to forge. Virtually everyone in the policy world accepts that we must do more to move the American labor force toward the kind of high-skilled foundation that is common in Germany and Austria.

Despite this consensus, the U.S. is very far behind in expanding apprenticeship and the technical education that underpins it. We currently have 506,000 federally registered apprentices and have allocated $2.7 billion dollars to support them. In Germany, with an economy one quarter the size of the U.S., there are 1.4 million apprentices and the annual expenditure for them is $9 billion. The skill of the German labor force is unparalleled in the world and has helped that country become a dominant force in international trade. Its investment has paid off handsomely.

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Labor Secretary to Start Building Apprenticeship Task Force

Jul 25, 2017

The U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has opened up nominations for the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. According to a recent news release from the Department of Labor, creating the task force is the first step in implementing President Donald Trump’s executive order to expand apprenticeships.

In June, President Trump said that apprenticeships could help fill millions of open jobs, however he was reticent to dedicate additional taxpayer money to the program.
According to the Department of Labor (DoL), the current number of active apprenticeships in the United States is 505,371.

In March, CEO Marc Benioff challenged the president to create five million apprenticeships over the next five years. President Trump accepted the challenge, and his proposed budget includes a $5 million increase ($95 million overall) in spending appropriated for apprenticeships.

Secretary Acosta will chair the task force, which has been charged with identifying ways to promote apprenticeships, particularly in sectors where apprenticeship programs are currently insufficient.

The task force will create a final report for President Trump that will include:
  • Recommendations on federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships.
  • Administrative and legislative reforms that will facilitate the formation and success of apprenticeship programs.
  • The most effective strategies for creating industry-recognized apprenticeships.
  • The most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.

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NABTU Apprenticeship Programs Seen as Model for Expansion

North America’s Building Trades Unions
14 Jun, 2017, 09:16 ET

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following statement was released today in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of planned initiatives designed to increase apprenticeship education and training across the US economy:

“We commend the Administration for elevating and promoting the power of apprenticeship programs for workers and whole industries. As the preeminent organization involved in apprenticeship readiness and apprenticeship education and training today, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), its affiliated unions, and its contractor partners appreciate efforts by the Federal Government to increase utilization of apprenticeship education.

“Among construction apprentices in the US today, 75 percent are trained in the joint apprentice training committee (JATC) system, which the Building Trades operate in cooperation with their contractor partners. We know from over 100 years of experience that robust, labor-management commitment to and investment in craft training ensures the necessary and portable skills for workers to meet specific demands of employers and entire industries, while also providing the means for individuals and communities to gain a foothold on the ladder to the middle class. Coupled with increased investments in infrastructure, apprenticeship can unleash broad, sustainable growth throughout the country while also allowing for career pathways for long underserved communities and those looking to embark on safe, highly skilled, productive and rewarding careers in the construction industry.

“In the Building Trades, these apprenticeship career pathways have been fully developed through articulation agreements and other relationships with US colleges and universities. All Building Trades apprenticeship programs, for example, have been assessed for higher education credit. In fact, NABTU considers apprenticeship training ‘the other four-year degree.’ If the Building Trades training system, which includes both apprentice-level and journeyman-level training, was a degree granting college or university, it would be the largest degree granting college or university in the United States – over 5 times larger than Arizona State University. In fact, NABTU’s training infrastructure is rivaled only by the US military in terms of the quality and depth of skills training.

“US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta framed it correctly when he observed, ‘if you look into the Building Trades, there’s almost a billion [dollars] that’s spent every year, and that’s all private sector money. The Building Trades have put together labor management organizations that jointly invest in these apprenticeship programs because they know both on the labor side and the management side that a skilled workforce is critical to the Building Trades. And that’s how it’s worked for a number of years.’

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California’s middle-class job of the future: Road worker

The state legislature’s approval of a massive infrastructure plan Thursday night promises a $50 billion investment in road and bridge repair over the next 10 years. That money is expected to drive a surge in the demand for construction workers and apprentices in California.

Andrea Bernstein – April 07 2017

The work will be funded primarily through a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. Gov. Jerry Brown’s office points to a 2011 formula devised by the White House Council of Economic Advisers to estimate it will create about 65,000 jobs each year, many with middle-class employment, an area where the state has struggled to grow.

The workers in demand will be carpenters, cement masons, laborers, operating engineers and ironworkers, said Tom Holsman, CEO of the Association of General Contractors of California.

“Those are the ones that will be most impacted, and at present they’ve all been geared up for some time to accommodate the demand,” he said. “I think we are well-situated for the workload that will follow this revenue stream.”

Construction companies that get public works contracts in California are required to pay their employees what’s known as a “prevailing wage.” That’s made infrastructure work a solid middle-class career track that’s attracting young people who aren’t seeking four-year degrees.

(Read More)

Earning while learning: Apprenticeships build careers, communities

Delaware Voice – Gregory Furtaw & James Maravelias
Published 4:47 p.m. ET – April 5, 2017

Many communities in the state of Delaware were established with families who worked old fashioned blue collar jobs in manufacturing, construction and the trades.

We remember how these blue collar jobs offered families stability by offering individuals – most, if not all, without college degrees – middle-class wages, health insurance, and a pension. Plus, these jobs provided an extra benefit when the wages earned through these jobs stayed in the community when families shopped, ate, and supported local businesses. Finally, these jobs offered a path to a career and an opportunity to a middle-class lifestyle for several generations.

We are not being nostalgic over a time that has passed. On the contrary, the model that built local communities and lifted generations of families into the middle-class through blue collar job opportunities still exist. Although not quite as visible as in the past, there is a current demand in Delaware for skilled tradespeople in construction, industrial and commercial maintenance, and manufacturing.

Today, we must look to sustain and expand a critical component that fueled these blue collar jobs – an apprenticeship system that produces qualified, Delaware workers.

(Read More)

Hein signs construction apprenticeship law

Saturday, March 14, 2015



KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Michael Hein on Friday signed into law a new policy that requires contractors entering into contracts with the County of Ulster to have apprenticeship agreements for certain bridge contracts of over $500,000.

Contractors must have apprenticeship agreements appropriate to the type and scope of work to be performed and must be registered with and approved by the state Labor Department.

Hein said the law will “help ensure we have a well-trained generation of high skilled local tradesmen to tackle the monumental task of rebuilding infrastructure through the Hudson Valley.”

(Read More)

Rep. Matt A. Szollosi Resigns as Assistant Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Rep.

Former Speaker Pro Tem Takes Helm at ACT Ohio

May 31, 2013 (Columbus, Ohio)

Today, Rep. Matthew A. Szollosi officially resigned his seat in the Ohio House of Representatives to become the Executive Director of the Affiliated Construction Trades, or ACT Ohio. Szollosi, 39, also recently left the law the Law Offices of D’Angelo, Szollosi & Hughes Co., L.P.A. for the full-time post.

According to Szollosi, “ACT Ohio is a 501(c)(5) organization created to advance quality economic and industrial development opportunities, and to promote industry best practices for Ohio’s public and private construction projects.”

Szollosi, who has specialized in construction law for close to 15 years, believes many of Ohio’s business and elected leaders are unaware of the industry’s investment in 501(c)(5) and its unwavering commitment to safety. “My job is to change that. There’s simply no question that contractors with a highly skilled and properly trained workforce will yield the best, most cost-effective results for the customer, which is our goal.”

ACT Ohio will also seek enforcement of state and federal construction laws designed and implemented to prevent the undercutting of area standards for wages and benefits on taxpayer funded projects, said Szollosi.

“I look forward to working closely with my friends and colleagues in Ohio and through our network of professionals with the National Alliance for Fair Contracting as well.”

Learn More About ACT Ohio