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A Registered Apprenticeship Program is a program that has been approved or recognized by the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council. There is a listing of these training programs on the website of the Department of Labor & Industries: www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Apprenticeship/Programs
You cannot use a training program that is not registered with the Department of Labor & Industries to meet the 15% apprentice utilization.
Labor hours are defined in RCW 39.04.310 as the total hours of workers receiving an hourly wage who are directly employed upon the public works project (apprentices included). "Labor hours" includes hours performed by workers employed by the contractor and all subcontractors working on the project. "Labor hours" does not include hours worked by foremen, superintendents, owners, and workers who are not subject to prevailing wage requirements. Be sure to consider this when filling out the Apprentice Monthly Utilization Report.
The 15% apprentice utilization is for the total labor hours of the project, not for each trade. WCC 3.72.040 (B) outlines that the contractor shall recruit apprentices from multiple trades or crafts.
Yes. Non-union contractors can use union apprenticeship programs to train their employees.
You do not have to sign a union agreement to utilize a union program, and state law prohibits programs from asking you to join the union. If you are asked to join the union or told you must do so to utilize the program, please contact your regional Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Apprenticeship Coordinator.
Use an existing Registered Apprenticeship Program to meet the requirement.
The Revised Code of Washington RCW 39.04.320 and the Contractor Apprenticeship Program (CAP) WCC 3.72* both require no less than 15 percent (15%) of total labor hours to be performed by apprentices on public work projects when the cost estimate of the project is $1,000,000 or more. This requirement will increase apprentices' training opportunities and build a skilled workforce.
*See WCC 3.72 as amended by the Whatcom County Council on December 5, 2023.
Apprentices need enough hours on projects to move up in pay and ranking to journeymen (achieved when fully trained). Without enough work requiring apprentices, training programs cannot expand to increase apprentice opportunities. Training programs identify that there is enough ongoing work to accommodate keeping the apprentice employed and provide hours to reach journeymen. Requiring apprentice hours on public work projects increases employment opportunities and builds a skilled workforce.
Whatcom County used RCW 39.04.320 compliance as a guide to require 15% of labor hours performed by apprentices on public work projects. The goal is to create a skilled workforce that reflects the diversity of our population and promotes community development.
The Prime Contractor is responsible for developing and implementing a plan to achieve the fifteen percent (15%) apprentice utilization. The Contractor alone may not be able to meet the 15% and should subcontract with companies who may provide apprentice hours sufficient to meet the 15% apprentice utilization for the project overall. The plan is a tool for both the Contractor and the CAP Coordinator that shows how and when the Contractor intends to meet the 15% apprentice utilization. The plan should be based on the total hours and apprentice hours the Contractor and any subcontractors expect to achieve.
The County is looking for a realistic plan that can be used to determine if the Contractor is on track to meet the 15% apprentice utilization requirement. The Contractor is responsible for updating the plan as changes occur that would affect the Contractor’s ability to meet the requirement and communicating this information to the Project Manager and CAP Coordinator.
For projects with a short number of days for project completion, the Contractor should monitor the plan to actual labor hours more frequently.
The Contractor will submit a CAP Utilization Plan to the Project Manager and receive approval in writing by the CAP Coordinator.
The Contractor will certify in the bid and in the CAP Utilization Plan the commitment to attaining the 15% apprentice utilization. The easiest way to prepare to meet the 15% apprentice utilization is to consider subcontractors and plan for this when preparing a bid. When a bid is submitted, there should be an awareness of apprentice utilization on the entire project and subcontractors that can be attained.
It is the Contractor’s responsibility to act as soon as it becomes evident that meeting the 15% apprentice utilization will be challenging.
Review the work plan to determine if there are any areas where apprentice utilization can be increased, whether through new employment or subcontractors.
If that is not an option, submit documents that support efforts to meet the utilization and a completed Request for Modification of CAP Utilization Plan form to the CAP Coordinator requesting approval for an exception or waiver.
If you cannot meet the 15% apprentice utilization or provide evidence that you made an effort to meet the 15%, you are not in compliance with the contract. If you have questions about a particular situation, contact your project manager for guidance as soon as the situation arises.
Documentation of the efforts made to utilize apprentices is the evidence needed to support a request for exception or waiver. In addition to the documented efforts, one can include a narrative describing the situations that impact the ability to meet the 15% apprentice utilization. This is not required and cannot be in lieu of documented evidence of efforts to utilize apprentices. All evidence must accompany a “Request for Modification of CAP Utilization Plan” form. Some examples include
In most cases, the evidence will be documentation demonstrating that you or a subcontractor participates in Registered Apprenticeship Programs but no apprentices or enough apprentices were available during the project. If apprentices are not available for dispatch at the beginning of a long-duration job, the contractor is expected to check back with the program periodically to see if apprentices are available.
Other unique situations may arise. If you have questions about a particular situation, contact your Project Manager for guidance as soon as possible.
Many commonly submitted concerns do not meet the contract requirement for demonstrating evidence of an effort to meet the apprentice utilization goal. Keep in mind that the intent of the requirement is you will utilize Registered Apprenticeship Programs to train apprentices. Very few situations where a contractor does not use Registered Apprenticeship Programs to meet the requirement will be accepted. The following are some examples that do NOT meet the requirement:
The CAP Coordinator will review the “Request for Modification of CAP Utilization Plan” form and documented evidence to support the request to determine if it meets the criteria of Whatcom County Code 3.72.050.
The submittal will be evaluated based on attempts to utilize apprentice labor. The CAP Coordinator will also evaluate the situation(s) documented to determine if what is documented is solely responsible for the entire shortfall in apprentice hours.
The final determination will be issued in writing.
If you do not meet the requirement of apprentice utilization, per Whatcom County Code 3.72.080:
“In addition to RCW 39.04.320 (4c), failure by a contractor to comply with established apprenticeship requirements, unless otherwise waived or excused in writing by the County Executive or CAP Coordinator pursuant to WCC 3.72.050, shall be deemed a breach of contract for which the County shall be entitled to all remedies allowed by law and under the contract. Failure to comply with the apprenticeship requirements may also be considered evidence bearing on a contractor’s qualification for award of future contracts with the county. Contractors who are found to knowingly violate the requirements under this chapter twice shall be deemed ineligible to bid for County projects for one year and added to a list maintained by the CAP Coordinator.”
RCW 39.04.320 (4b) outlines a requirement for a monetary incentive for meeting the apprentice hours and a monetary penalty for not meeting the apprentice hours. The value of the incentive and penalty will be determined per project, and the incentive and penalty will be identified in the bid solicitation and contract documents’ special provisions when the project meets the criteria.
A monetary penalty will be applied to the contractor failing to meet the apprenticeship utilization requirement. Issuing of this penalty does not limit or preclude the Contracting Agency’s ability to exercise other contractual actions, such as withholding of payment.
The value of the incentive and penalty will be determined per project, and the incentive and penalty will be identified in the bid solicitation and contract documents’ special provisions when the project meets the criteria.
A monetary incentive will be paid to the contractor for meeting the apprenticeship utilization requirement.