Regardless of whether or not the Senate passes the bill that would limit which companies able to bid on public works contracts one thing is clear, there is a pressing need for more skilled workers.
- 52% of Rhode Island’s licensed plumbers are 50 or older
- 58% of Rhode Island’s licensed pipe-fitters are 50 or older
- 52% of Rhode Island’s licensed electricians are 50 or older
From the Providence Journal:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A labor-backed push to restrict who can bid on public-works contracts could also create more work for the state, a study commission was told Monday.
The commission on apprenticeship programs and public-works contracts was created last year after a bid-limiting bill passed the Senate but stalled in the House. The group met for the first time on Monday for a presentation from the state Department of Labor and Training.
For two consecutive years, the Senate has passed a bill that would limit who can bid on state and local construction contracts worth $1 million or more. The contracts would have been limited to companies with approved apprenticeship programs that can guarantee apprentices will work at least 10 percent of the project’s hours.
Joseph Degnan, assistant director for work force regulation and safety at the DLT, said the state’s data show a prevalence of older workers in some licensed trades. Supporters of last year’s bill have argued for a need to provide a younger, skilled work force.
Of the state’s 1,954 licensed plumbers, 1,029 are 50 or older. Of the state’s 5,599 licensed pipe-fitters, 3,231 are 50 or older. Of 5,736 licensed electricians, 2,972 are 50 or older, Degnan said.
The DLT did not take a policy position on last year’s bill, but Matthew Weldon, DLT assistant director, warned that enforcement of the standard will mean more work for the department.
To read the entire story visit: The Providence Journal
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