“Skilled and Trained Workforce” Facts

When you see the requirement that a project owner must certify that a “Skilled and Trained Workforce” shall be used to complete the project, here’s what it means: (Chapter 2.9 Public Contract Code 2600).”

All workers are either “skilled journeypersons” or they are in an approved Apprenticeship program AND a percentage of skilled journeypersons have graduated from an approved Apprenticeship program.

Let’s break that down. What does it actually mean?

Every worker on the job working in a construction trade either :
A) Has over 4 years proven work experience in their trade. That is, they have the same number hours as it takes to graduate from the apprentice program for their trade. Most programs take 4 years.
B) Is currently enrolled in a California approved Apprenticeship program.

AND (but wait, there’s more…)

Of those Journeymen (A, above), 30% – 60% graduated from an approved Apprenticeship program for their trade. Even if it was in 1981 and they haven’t worked since the recession. According to this law, that guy is more “skilled and trained” than the guy who knows current codes, methods, materials, WUI and energy efficiency requirements.

The following trades must have 30% of their workforce be Apprenticeship graduates: acoustical installer, bricklayer, carpenter, cement mason, drywall installer or lather, marble mason, finisher, or setter, modular furniture or systems installer, operating engineer, pile driver, plasterer, roofer or waterproofer, stone mason, surveyor, terrazo worker or finisher, and tile layer, setter or finisher.

The following trades must have 60% of their workforce be Apprenticeship graduates: Carpet/linoleum installers, Electricians, Fire Sprinkler Fitters (New certification requirements for sprinklers are more stringent), Glaziers, HVAC, Iron workers, Laborers, Painters, Plumbing, Sheet Metal, Sound/Communication)

Why does this matter? Because the “STWF” requirement has been legislated into every public works project that is not Design/Bid/Build. And now it’s being legislated into every housing project that could qualify for streamlined permitting or tax credits or grants or funding support.

Why does it matter? Because very few Butte County contractors have a workforce that meets these requirements. That means soon the construction workforce for public works and subsidized housing will need to be sourced from San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento. What do you think that will do to the cost of construction and housing?

Documents: click to go to code.
Public Contract Code Skilled and Trained Workforce
Government Code Housing Development Approvals GOV 65913.4
Government Code Housing Sustainability Districts GOV 66201
Labor Code Limiting Approved Construction Trades Apprenticeship Programs and limiting to those in Existence July 1, 2018 LAB 3075

These code regulations are the result of bills passed by the legislature. There has never been any analysis of facts or data behind the arbitrary definition of “Skilled and Trained Workforce.” It discriminates against Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises, small businesses, minority and women owned businesses. It add enormous cost without reason. The early legislation that codified STWF are SB 784 from 2014, AB 566, AB 1358, AB 1185, SB 762 all from 2015, SB 693 from 2016. Currently we’re watching many bills that require STWF on housing construction if credits, grants or funding for affordable subsidies are used.