Apprenticeship usage reporting
Find more information about apprenticeship utilization on our highway construction projects.
All of our contracts estimated to cost $2 million or more that were advertised on or after July 1, 2020 contain a 15% apprentice utilization requirement. Apprentice utilization requirements for our projects are now tracked using L&I's Prevailing Wage Intents and Affidavits (PWIA) system.
The threshold for including the apprentice utilization requirement is established in accordance with the RCW. Between August 2015 and June 2020, the threshold for including the 15% apprentice utilization requirement was temporarily raised to projects estimated at $3 million or more. (Contracts on ad or awarded prior to August 3, 2015 have a 15% apprenticeship requirement when estimated to cost $2 million or more.)
For more information, see the apprenticeship common questions.
Contractors needing additional resources to meet their apprenticeship utilization requirement are encouraged to contact:
- Jane Rockwell
On The Job Training Support Services
L&I Prevailing Wage Intents and Affidavits (PWIA) system
Apprenticeship utilization advisory committee
Apprentice utilization advisory committee meeting minutes
- Meeting Minutes - December 2021 (PDF 86KB)
- Meeting minutes - June 2021 (PDF 155KB)
- Meeting minutes - December 2020 (PDF 142KB)
- Advance schedule of projects
- Labor & Industries (L&I)
- Washington State Building & Trades Council
- Construction Industry Training Council
- AGC of Washington (Seattle, WA)
- AGC of Washington Inland Northwest Chapter (Spokane, WA)
Apprenticeship common questions
- Which WSDOT contracts require 15% apprentice utilization?
- Is apprentice utilization different from special training provisions?
- What is a State-approved apprenticeship program and how can I find one?
- I have a training program of my own but it is not a State-approved program. Does this meet the requirement?
- I'm trying to get a program approved by the council but it is not approved yet, what can I do to meet the requirement until the program gets approved?
- Who does the requirement apply to: primes, subs or both?
- What labor hours get reported and are subject to 15% apprentice utilization?
- Do I include truck drivers on the plan and monthly reports?
- Are owner/operators included?
- What is the purpose of the apprentice utilization plan and what is WSDOT looking for in the plan I turn in?
- What if my plan shows that I can't meet the apprentice utilization requirement?
- What should the good faith effort I turn in look like?
- How will the good faith effort be evaluated?
- What situations meet the intent of the contract in terms of the good faith effort?
- What situation/s do not meet the intent of the contract in terms of the good faith effort?
- What if the work is too dangerous or critical or technical for apprentices?
- I'm an out-of-state contractor and I'm having trouble finding apprenticeship programs. What should I do?
- Can I meet the requirement if I'm a non-union contractor?
- Can I count my apprentices after they graduate?
- What happens when it is time for my apprentice's classroom training?
- What if apprentices quit or take a different job?
- What happens if changes to the contract alter my apprentice plans?
- What are the consequences of not meeting the apprentice utilization requirement?
Which WSDOT Contracts require 15% apprentice utilization?
As of July 1, 2020, all of our contracts advertised with an estimate of $2 million or greater will require no less than 15% of their labor hours to be performed by apprentices.
Contracts that were advertised between July 2015 and June 2020 will continue to report under the previous threshold of an estimated cost of $3 million or greater. Contracts that were active or awarded prior to July 1, 2015 will continue to report under the previous threshold of an estimated cost of $2 million or greater.
Is apprentice utilization different from special training provisions?
Yes, apprentice utilization and special training provisions are two separate requirements. Apprenticeship applies to any WSDOT contract estimated to cost $2 million or more. Training applies to only those federally funded projects that have been reviewed and determined are able to support training. A contract can contain both requirements.
If you have a contract with both requirements you will need to meet both and submit all required reporting for each requirement. The same apprentice can be used to meet both requirements if they are a female or minority and are enrolled in a State-approved apprenticeship program.
What is a State-approved apprenticeship program and how can I find one?
A State-approved apprenticeship program is a program that has been approved by the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC). There is a listing of State-approved training programs on the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) website.
I have a training program of my own but it is not a State-Approved Program. Can I use this toward meeting the requirement or get my program approved by the council?
You cannot use a program that is not State-approved toward meeting the requirement.
You can attempt to get your existing program approved by the council or start a new program; however, this is a time-consuming process and you will need to find another way to meet the requirement prior to approval of your program.
I'm trying to get a program approved by the council but it is not approved yet, what can I do to meet the requirement until the program gets approved?
You'll need to utilize an existing State-approved program or other contractors on the job will need to make up for the shortfall in utilization caused by you not using a State-approved program.
Who does the requirement apply to? Does it apply to the prime contractor, the subcontractors or both?
The contract requires that 15% of the total labor hours on the project be performed by apprentices. The prime contractor can choose how this will be achieved. We do not require that each contractor achieve 15% apprentice utilization, however in order to meet the requirement, the prime contractor should contract with companies that plan to perform apprentice hours to assist them in meeting the requirement. Otherwise the prime contractor may not be able to meet the requirement. The requirement is that 15% of the total labor hours performed by all contractors on the job be performed by apprentices.
What labor hours get reported and are subject to 15% apprentice utilization?
Labor hours are the total hours performed by all workers (apprentice or journeyman) receiving an hourly wage who are directly employed upon the public works project including hours performed by workers employed by the prime contractor and all subcontractors. Labor hours do not include hours performed by foremen, superintendents, owners and workers who are not subject to prevailing wage requirements.
Do I include truck drivers on the plan and monthly reports?
Truck drivers should be reported in the same manner as any other apprentice or journeyman. If they are working upon the public works project, are receiving a prevailing wage and are not a foreman, superintendent, or owner; apprentice and journeymen truck driver hours should be reported.
The owner/operator would not be included. Any employees they have receiving an hourly wage would be included.
What is the purpose of the apprentice utilization plan and what is WSDOT looking for in the plan I turn in?
The plan is a tool for both you and the project office administering the project to determine if you will meet the apprentice utilization requirement, and how/when you intend to. The plan should be based on the total hours and apprentice hours that you and your subcontractors expect to achieve. The plan should be compared periodically to your current apprentice utilization status to determine if you are on track to meet the requirement. It should be updated as changes occur that would affect your ability to meet the requirement.
We are looking for a plan that is realistic and can be used to determine if you are on track to meeting the requirement.
My plan shows that I can't meet the apprentice utilization requirement, what should I do?
First, you should determine if there are any other areas where you or your subcontractors have the ability to increase your utilization of apprentices. If there are not, you will need to collect documentation demonstrating that you made a good faith effort to meet the requirement. If you cannot demonstrate that you made a good faith effort to meet the requirement, then you are not in compliance with the requirement. Failure to comply with the requirements as specified may result in reduction or revocation of prequalification as allowed by WAC 468-16-190.
What should the good faith effort I turn in look like?
Your good faith effort (GFE) will need to describe in detail the efforts you made to utilize apprentices and will need to address one or more of the areas listed in the apprentice utilization specification for acceptable GFE topics. This documentation is necessary to demonstrate that you met the requirement through good faith. GFEs should be uploaded via L&I's Prevailing Wage Intents and Affidavits (PWIA) system for review by the Project Engineer.
GFE letters shall include and address the following:
- Contract number, title and the apprentice utilization requirements,
- The amount of apprentice labor hours the contract did attain expressed as a percentage of labor hours,
- Reason(s) for not obtaining apprentice labor hours, and depending on what good faith effort topic used and will need to address some or all of the following:
- Names of any State-approved apprentice training programs contacted and provide the name of person(s) contacted and dates of contacts,
- Reference contract specifications or documents that affected your ability to attain apprentice utilization,
- Discuss efforts taken to require subcontractors to solicit and employ apprentices,
- Provide backup documentation to the letter. Backup documents to the letter can consist of the following:
- Letters, emails, phone logs including names, dates and outcomes, posters, photos, payroll, time cards, schedules, copies or references to other contract specifications or documents such as TERO, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) or special training.
How will the good faith effort be evaluated?
The project office administering the project will review your GFE Documents to determine that:
- The situation(s) documented is a good faith effort (meets the intent of the contract requirement and the spirit of the law) AND
- The entire shortfall in apprentice participation could likely be attributable to the situations documented in your GFE.
Your submittal will be evaluated based on your attempts to utilize apprentice labor. The project office will also evaluate the situation(s) documented to determine if what you have documented could be solely responsible for the entire shortfall in apprentice hours.
What situation(s) meet the intent of the contract in terms of the good faith effort?
In most cases the good faith effort will be documentation demonstrating that you or a subcontractor participates in State-approved apprenticeship programs but no apprentices were available or not enough apprentices were available during the project. It is expected that contractors participate in apprenticeship programs for occupations where they have employees being trained. If apprentices are not available for dispatch at the beginning of a long-duration job, it is expected the contractor check back with the program periodically to see if apprentices are available.
If a conflicting federal requirement such as TERO, federal training or DBE goals affected your ability to utilize apprentices, this will be accepted as long as it is determined that conflicting requirements (or other acceptable efforts) are attributable for the entire shortfall in apprentice hours and provided that you met the federal requirement.
The intent of the apprenticeship requirement is not for contractors to lay off their apprentice workers as soon as they journey out. If you have a small workforce and no hiring opportunity exists, this will be accepted as long as it is determined that this accounts for the entire shortfall in apprentice hours. You'll need to demonstrate through documentation that your company has a history of hiring apprentices from State-approved apprenticeship programs or enrolled your unskilled new-hires in these programs. You should also document any apprentices retained by your company and provide information about your project workforce and company workforce such as how long your workers have been employed and if they were hired as journeymen or apprentices and whether or not they graduated from State-approved programs.
Other unique situations may come up. If you have questions about a situation you encounter, please contact the project office you are working with for additional guidance.
What situation(s) DO NOT meet the intent of the contract in terms of the good faith effort?
A number of commonly submitted concerns actually do not meet the contract requirement for demonstrating a good faith effort. Keep in mind that the intent of the requirement is you will utilize State-approved apprenticeship programs to train apprentices. Very few situations where a contractor does not use State-approved apprenticeship programs to meet the requirement will be accepted. The following examples do NOT meet the requirement:
- Falling short of the requirement due to subcontractors not using apprentices.
- Not using a State-approved apprenticeship program while you are trying to get your own program approved by the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC).
- Not using a State-approved apprenticeship program due to cost.
- Not using a State-approved apprenticeship program because you are an out-of-state contractor.
- Not replacing an apprentice that quit or was fired.
- Not using enough apprentices because certain work is too dangerous or the apprentices do not have the appropriate skills.
What if I don't want to put an apprentice on certain parts of the job due to the dangerous nature or work, or their skill level?
Everyone has to start somewhere, so generally this is not a reason for being unable to meet the requirement. We do recognize that unique situations may exist. If you should encounter a situation where apprentices should not be used, document this with photos of the location or equipment. Obtain documentation demonstrating that the apprenticeship program agrees with the determination. The project office administering the project will evaluate the situation to determine if the shortfall in apprentice utilization could be attributed to these situations where apprentices could not be used.
There are circumstances where the contract requires a level of experience that workers must have to perform certain types of work. (For example, we specify that only experienced workers can be used for high scaling and drilling.) In these cases, track the hours where experienced workers must be used and the project office will subtract them from the total journeymen hours to see if the requirement was met without them.
I'm an out-of-state contractor and I'm having trouble finding apprenticeship programs. What should I do?
If you've been to L&I's website and looked through their listing of available programs, keep in mind that you can register as a traveling training agent in any of these programs. By joining as a traveling training agent, you won't violate the terms of any programs you utilize in your home state. Be sure to mention this option when you call the programs you are interested in.
I'm a non-union contractor and there aren't as many non-union programs as there are union programs. Does that mean I can't meet the requirement?
Absolutely not. 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 the apprenticeship office at L&I at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the project started, I had apprentices, but some of them graduated. There isn't enough work left to provide much training if I hired new apprentices, but if I don't I might fall short of meeting the requirement. What can I do?
You can receive "good faith effort" credit for apprentices that graduated through the end of the construction season for all projects that they work on as long as the apprentice remains continuously employed with the same contractor they were working for when they graduated. If the apprentice is employed on a project of significant duration, they may be counted toward good faith effort credit for a year after their graduation or until the end of the project (whichever comes first). These graduates must be paid journeyman wages. The next available hire should always be an apprentice. Track each graduate separately and the impact on overall project hours will be taken into account when your good faith effort documentation is reviewed.
I have enough apprentices to meet the requirement, but they have to go to classroom training during the project and I may fall short of the requirement now. What can I do?
Document which apprentices had to attend classroom training and how long they were there. Submit to the project office information about the number of hours they would have been scheduled to work on the job during this period had they not been in classroom training. The project office will add these hours to the cumulative apprentice hours and see if the requirement could have been met had the apprentices not been in class.
I'm trying hard to meet the requirement but having trouble retaining apprentices. What can I do?
When an apprentice leaves the project, document the date the apprentice stopped working. Also document the date you called dispatch for another apprentice or began a hiring process. If you are hiring, document the dates various actions took place such as advertising for the job, the deadline for applications and when interviews took place. Submit documentation showing when the replacement apprentice arrived on the work site. The project office will take the period of time you were without an apprentice into account in your good faith effort as long as you demonstrate you acted in a reasonable amount of time to replace the lost apprentice.
I was on track to meet the requirement but WSDOT requested a change to the contract that affected my plan for apprentice utilization and makes it difficult for me to meet the requirement based on where I had planned to have apprentices. What should I do?
We understand that contract changes can affect apprentice utilization. If a contract change decreases hours in areas where you planned to have apprentices, or increases hours in areas where you are not training, this will be considered when your good faith effort is reviewed by the project office. You should update your apprentice utilization plan to demonstrate how much the change will affect utilization. At this time, we encourage you to contact your project manager and your subcontractors' project managers to see if apprentice utilization can be increased in other areas.
What are the consequences of not meeting the apprentice utilization requirement?
If a contractor does not meet the requirements through utilization or by demonstrating a good faith effort, they will be subject to disciplinary actions as allowed under WAC 468-16-180. A summary of the disciplinary action can be found in Section SS 1-07.9(3) of the WSDOT Construction Manual (M41-01).
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