Hillsborough County launched the Construction Apprenticeship Program to address the skills shortage that is affecting the county’s construction projects, which is creating project delays, additional costs and other challenges.
The program is intended to increase the number of skilled workers for construction projects in the district by offering training and experience opportunities that help ensure that qualified workers are also available in the future.
The construction education program was approved by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners as County Ordinance 21-17 on May 21, 2021. The program is effective for county-funded construction project submissions beginning September 1, 2021.
General program requirements
- The program applies to county-funded construction projects of $ 1 million or more
- At least 12% of the working hours must be performed by trainees of the contractor or his subcontractors
- The contractor or its subcontractors must attend an education program registered with the Florida Department of Education or the US Department of Labor
- For a trade for which there are no registered training courses for any type of work on the construction project, a company-owned program is sufficient, but the contractor or subcontractor uses a person who takes part in a company-supported training program
- The contractor or its subcontractors must use good faith efforts to adhere to this program if the objectives are not achieved
This is how the program works
Starting September 1, 2021, tenders for construction projects financed by the county will include a certification form for the construction training program. The provider bidding on the project must certify that they will be participating in an education program registered with the Florida Department of Education or the US Department of Labor. This requirement also applies to subcontractors.
The contractor must submit qualifying evidence of the deployment of apprentices, including those of his subcontractors, for the entire duration of the contract. Partial compliance or non-compliance with the program requirements may result in liquidated damages and other legal remedies available to the county including, but not limited to, suspending the contractor from consideration for awarding future contracts and terminating the construction contract.
For more information on the program, see the fullConstruction course regulation.
Where can I find the building course regulations?
Hillsborough County Ordinance No. 21-17 is available online.
Why does the district require a bidder to use a certain percentage of apprentices for its projects?
The county recognizes the benefits of improving the skilled workforce through the educational opportunities associated with apprenticeship programs. The use of apprentices promotes the development of qualifications in the construction trades and contributes to ensuring the quality and quantity of the work.
How does the district define apprentices?
Apprentice means anyone who is enrolled in an apprenticeship program registered with the Florida Department of Education or the US Department of Labor. If there is no registered apprenticeship occupation for the activity required for the construction project, an apprentice is any person who takes part in company apprenticeship training for this activity.
I have my own training program. Can I use this to meet the usage requirement?
A company may only use a company-sponsored or industry certification training program if the Florida Department of Education or the US Department of Labor does not have a program for the occupation. A company sponsored apprenticeship program requires that apprentices be recruited through a process consistent with industry certification as established by the county. The standards for company-sponsored programs are assessed against the Standards Builder User Guide from the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Office of Apprenticeship.
To whom does the obligation to use apply?
Contracts for county funded construction projects worth $ 1 million or more require that at least 12% of the total hours worked by trainees. The trainees can be employed by the main contractor as well as by the subcontractors.
What is the purpose of the project work breakdown on the certification form, and what is the county looking for in the breakdown I submitted?
The breakdown is a tool for both you and the district to determine whether you can meet the requirements for the use of the apprenticeship. The breakdown should be based on the total working hours and apprentice hours that you and your subcontractors expect. Your breakdown is regularly compared against the monthly reports you submitted to see if you are meeting the requirements.
My breakdown shows I cannot meet the apprentice load, what should I do?
The first thing to do is determine if there are other areas where you or your subcontractors can increase the use of apprentices. If not, you will need to obtain documentation showing that you have made good faith efforts to meet the requirement. If you cannot demonstrate that you made good faith efforts to meet the requirement, you will not meet the requirement.
What should the good faith effort that I bring in me look like?
- Documentation showing that the bidder or subcontractor is participating in training programs offered by the Florida Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Labor and that there were no trainees available for the project
- Evidence of a disproportionate ratio of material costs to working hours, which makes the required minimum participation of the trainees not feasible
- Proof of the reasonable and necessary conditions of the contract that make it impossible to use the apprenticeship in the required amount
- Documentation showing that the bidder or subcontractor cannot meet the requirement due to a conflicting federal or state requirement
- Letters or e-mail correspondence from apprenticeships
- Lists of Florida Department of Education or U.S. Department of Labor printouts showing the availability or unavailability of apprenticeship programs
Your good faith efforts are a record of your efforts to deploy apprentices. This documentation could be in the form of:
How are the good faith efforts assessed?
- The situation documented in good faith corresponds to the purpose of the contract
- The entire lack of apprentice participation could likely be due to the situations that are documented in your good faith
- If what you documented could alone be responsible for the entire shortage of apprenticeship hours
The county apprenticeship program team will review your records in good faith for their efforts to determine that:
Which situations do NOT correspond to the purpose of the contract in good faith?
- Subcontractors who do not employ trainees fall short of requirements
- For cost reasons, do not hire apprentices
- Do not replace an apprentice who has been terminated or laid off
- Not enough apprentices deployed because certain jobs are too dangerous or the apprentices do not have the appropriate skills
Several common concerns do not meet contractual requirements to demonstrate good faith. The following examples do NOT meet the requirement:
I was on track to meet the requirement, but the county called for a contract change that affected my apprentice assignment plan and made it harder for me to meet the requirement depending on where I had apprentices. What should I do?
The district is aware that changes to the contract can affect the workload of apprentices. If a contract change shortens the hours in areas in which you intended to employ apprentices or increases the hours in areas in which you are not doing training, the county will take this into account in good faith. You should update your apprentice utilization plan to show how much the change will affect utilization. The county encourages you to contact your subcontractors to see if apprentice utilization can be increased in other areas.
- What are the consequences of not fulfilling the apprenticeship obligation?
I have more questions. Who can I contact for help?
For assistance, email the Construction Apprenticeship Program team at CAPadmin@hcflgov.net or call Procurement Services at (813) 272-5790.