In a recent memo to contractors, WSDOT and L&I reminded contractors that they are not permitted to work an apprentice outside of their approved scope of work and that they could be prohibited from bidding should they do so. Below is the memo in full, as signed by WSDOT Director of Construction Division Chris Christopher and L&I Assistant Director Elizabeth Smith:
Apprenticeship-utilization conformance on public-works contracts
June 16, 2017
Public-work contracts administered by WSDOT currently require 15 percent of the total labor hours be performed by state-approved apprentices for projects estimated to cost $3 million or more. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) met with the Department of Labor and Industries to discuss industry concerns regarding compliance with requirements pertaining to WSDOT’s apprenticeship-utilization program.
The regulation in question relates to working an apprentice outside of their approved work process as outlined in their standards of apprenticeship. Registered apprentices are employed to learn a specific apprenticeable occupation. They are required to sign an agreement that they will perform their apprenticeship in conformity with Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC)-approved standards in a specific trade.
Under the current law, a bidder on a public-works project is not considered a responsible bidder and qualified to be awarded a public-works project if found to have worked apprentices outside their approved work processes during the year preceding the bid solicitation. Additionally, work performed by a registered apprentice who is outside of their approved work processes would not count toward a public-work contract’s apprenticeship-utilization requirement.
Apprenticeship program sponsors and their partner employers (training agents) share the responsibility for training apprentices in the work of the trade they agreed to learn. As stated in the work processes outlined in the Standards of Apprenticeship, training agents are not permitted to work an apprentice outside of the work of their occupation. Apprenticeship violations on public-works contracts will be addressed in accordance with WAC 296-05-015. Consequences may include prohibition from bidding on future projects per RCW 39.12.055 and failure to meet responsible bidder status per RCW 39.04.350.
Please direct apprenticeship-compliance concerns to the Department of Labor and Industries’ Apprenticeship Division.
For further questions regarding this information, please contact Heidi Jensen, WSDOT State Documentation Engineer at (360) 705-7908, or
Jody Robbins, Washington State Dept of Labor & Industries Apprenticeship Manager, at (360) 902-5321.