Construction Apprenticeship Program

Hillsborough County created the Construction Apprenticeship Program to address the shortage of skilled labor impacting the County’s construction projects, which result in project delays, additional expenses, and other challenges.

The program is intended to increase the number of skilled workers available for County construction projects by providing opportunities for training and experience that will help ensure that a trained workforce is available in the future.

The Construction Apprenticeship Program was approved by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners as County Ordinance 21-17 on May 21, 2021. The program applies to County-funded construction project solicitations starting Sept. 1, 2021.

General Program Requirements

  • The program applies to County-funded construction projects $1 million and over
  • At least 12% of labor hours must be performed by apprentices employed by the contractor or its subcontractors
  • The contractor or its subcontractors must participate in an apprenticeship program that is registered with the Florida Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Labor
  • A company-sponsored program will be sufficient for a trade for which there are no registered apprenticeship programs for any type of work to be performed on the construction project, but the contractor or sub-contractor will use a person participating in a company-sponsored training program
  • The contractor or its subcontractors must demonstrate good faith efforts to comply with this program if goals are not met

How the Program Works

Effective Sept. 1, 2021, County-funded construction project solicitations will include a Construction Apprenticeship Program Certification Form. The vendor bidding on the project must certify that they will participate in an apprenticeship program that is registered with the Florida Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Labor.  This requirement also applies to subcontractors. 

Throughout the contract duration, the contractor must provide qualifying documentation on the utilization of apprentices, including those used by its subcontractors. Partial compliance or noncompliance with the program requirement may result in liquidated damages and other remedies available to the County, including, but not limited to, debarment or suspension of the contractor from consideration for the award of future contracts, and termination of the construction contract.

For more information about the program, review the full Construction Apprenticeship Program Ordinance. 

Program Assistance and Questions

Helpful Links

FAQ

  1. Where can I find the Construction Apprenticeship Program ordinance?
      Hillsborough County Ordinance No. 21-17 is available online.
  2. Why does the County require a bidder to utilize a certain percentage of apprentice workers on their projects?
      The County recognizes the benefits gained with the enhancement of a skilled workforce through the educational opportunities inherent in apprenticeship programs. Requiring the employment of apprentices will promote the advancement of skill sets in the construction trades and help ensure the quality and quantity of work.
  3. How does the County define apprentice?
      Apprentice means any person who is enrolled and participating in an apprenticeship program registered with the Florida Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Labor. If a registered apprenticeship program does not exist for the type of work required for the construction project, then apprentice means any person who is participating in a company-sponsored training program for that type of work.
  4. I have a training program of my own. Can I use this toward meeting the utilization requirement?
  5. Who does the utilization requirement apply to?
      Contracts for County-funded construction projects valued at $1 million or more will require at least 12% of total labor hours be performed by apprentices. Apprentices may be employed by either the prime contractor or the subcontractors.
  6. What is the purpose of the project labor breakdown on the certification form, and what is the County looking for in the breakdown that I submit?
      The breakdown is a tool for both you and the County to determine whether you can meet the apprenticeship utilization requirement. The breakdown should be based on the total labor hours and apprentice labor hours that you and your subcontractors expect to achieve. Your breakdown will be compared periodically to the monthly reports that you submit to determine whether you are on track to meet the requirement.
  7. My breakdown shows that I cannot meet the apprentice utilization requirement, what should I do?
      First, you should determine if there are any other areas where you or your subcontractors can 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, you will not be compliant with the requirement.
  8. What should the good faith effort I turn in look like?
      Your good faith effort will be the documentation of efforts you made to utilize apprentices. This documentation could be in the form of:
      • Documentation showing that the bidder or subcontractor uses Florida Department of Education or U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship programs and that there were no apprentices available for the project
      • Documentation showing a disproportionately high ratio of material costs to labor hours, which does not make it feasible to have the required minimum levels of apprentice participation
      • Documentation showing the reasonable and necessary requirements of the contract which render apprentice utilization infeasible at the required level
      • Documentation demonstrating that the bidder or subcontractor cannot meet the requirement due to a conflicting federal or state requirement
      • Letters or email correspondence from apprenticeship programs
      • Lists of Florida Department of Education or U.S. Department of Labor printouts showing the availability or lack of availability of apprenticeship programs
  9. How will the good faith effort be evaluated?
      The County’s Construction Apprenticeship Program team will review your good faith effort documents to determine that:
      • The situation documented in the good faith effort meets the intent of the contract requirement
      • The entire shortfall in apprentice participation could likely be attributable to the situations documented in your good faith effort
      • If what you have documented could solely be responsible for the entire shortfall in apprentice hours
  10. What situations DO NOT meet the intent of the contract in terms of the good faith effort?
      Several commonly submitted concerns do not meet the contract requirement for demonstrating good faith effort. The following examples DO NOT meet the requirement:
      • Falling short of the requirement due to subcontractors not using apprentices
      • Not hiring apprentices due to cost
      • Not replacing an apprentice who quit or was fired
      • Not using enough apprentices because certain work is too dangerous, or the apprentices do not have the appropriate skills
  11. I was on track to meet the requirement, but the County 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?
      The County understands 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, the County will consider this in your good faith effort. You should update your apprentice utilization plan to demonstrate 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.
  12. What are the consequences of not meeting the apprentice requirement?
  13. I have more questions. Who can I contact for assistance?
      For assistance, email the Construction Apprenticeship Program team at CAPadmin@hcflgov.net or call Procurement Services at (813) 272-5790.
  14. If state or federal funds are being used for a County construction project, will the County waive the CAP those contracts?

    CAP only applies to County funded projects.

  15. How does the passage of HB 53 from this Legislative session affect the implementation of this ordinance?

    CAP only applies to County funded projects.

  16. Will the County disclose funding sources prior to bid advertisement, or will contractors have to request this information for each project?

    Information including fiscal for proposed capital projects, their costs, and timing is available on this page and is updated annually as part of the County’s budget process.

  17. Has the County taken into consideration the burden being placed on the General Contractor (GC) to track the labor hours of all their subcontractors? Additionally, has the County considered that for smaller trade subcontractors where a state or federal program does not currently exist, creating an apprenticeship program is not feasible?

    There will be an additional burden placed on contractors; however, this program is designed to increase the availability of skilled labor in our community. CAP discounts labor hours used by small businesses as well as minority and women owned businesses, providing a built-in incentive to use small and minority businesses as subcontractors. Furthermore, see Sec. 2-587 of Ordinance No. 21-17 for exceptions that will be considered on a per project basis.

  18. The CAP Certification Form required to be submitted with a bid requests the estimated total labor hours for this project to be broken down by trade, contractor/subcontractor, apprenticeship program name and apprentice labor hours. This is an extraordinary amount of information to gather and submit with a bid and will be extremely difficult to obtain prior to bid time. We receive hundreds of subcontractor and vendor bids right up to bid time and have no way of knowing who we intend to use more than a few hours in advance of submitting our bid. To then go back and get this information from our chosen subcontractors would be very nearly impossible. Would the county consider changing this form to an acknowledgement of meeting the apprenticeship hours and then allowing the low bidder to submit the detailed information after the bid?

    The CAP Certification Form is based on the Ordinance and is designed to capture the required information. As the program matures, the County will periodically review the form and the program in general in hopes of identifying opportunities for improvement.

  19. Do haulers count toward the labor hours? If so, how is it possible to implement an apprenticeship program for haulers as they are required to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) prior to hauling project materials? Will the County consider excluding certain trades when that trade cannot feasibly use/implement an apprentice program?

    See Sec. 2-587 of Ordinance No. 21-17 for exceptions.

  20. If a GC is unable to meet the CAP participation goals due to non-participation by a subcontractor, will the GC be permitted to penalize the subcontractor with the amount the GC is penalized.

    The Ordinance does not address prime contractors’ actions towards subcontractors.

  21. How long will it take and at what point will a company-sponsored apprenticeship program, be approved?

    The CAP Certification Form along with all supporting program information must be submitted along with bid submission. After bid closing, the County begins to evaluate the apparent low bid including the CAP Team reviewing and approving company-sponsored program submissions. A Notice of Intent to Award is posted in Oracle Online Discussion that will list the recommended bidder(s) for award.

  22. Will a contractor need to have their company-sponsored apprenticeship program approved for every project they contract with the County or will it only need to be approved the first time it is used?

    If the company-sponsored apprenticeship program is registered with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) or Florida Department of Education (FDOE), the CAP Team review is not required.

    If a company-sponsored apprenticeship program is not registered with USDOL or FDOE, the CAP Team review is required.

    The County encourages all to register a company-sponsored apprenticeship program with USDOL or FDOE.

  23. Will liquidated damages be assessed based on total project participation or on a monthly basis? For example, if a contractor meets the overall goal of 12% labor hours for apprentices for the entire project, but has a time period where the goal wasn’t met monthly, will liquidated damages be assessed based on the monthly reports?

    The CAP requirement is for 12% apprentice labor hours for the total project, not monthly. Liquidated damages will be assessed based on the aggregate of data provided in monthly reports as defined in to Sec. 2-588 (a).

  24. Regarding exceptions—Sec. 2-587 (a)(3)—is there a limitation on distance to an apprenticeship program?

    The intent of Sec. 2-587 (a)(3) is to work with programs within a reasonable distance.

  25. If an apprenticeship program exists but is outside of the contractor’s work area, are they permitted to use their own program instead?

    The intent of Sec. 2-587 (a)(3) is to work with programs within a reasonable distance.

  26. What if there is an “official” apprenticeship program, but an individual company also has an apprenticeship program that better suits the company—will the company be required to use the “official” program?

    See Sec. 2-587 (a)(1).

  27. Sec. 2-587 (f)(3)(b) states that the County Administrator can determine a disproportionately high ratio of material costs to labor hours exist, making it infeasible to attain the required percentage of apprenticeship participation. What does the County consider to be a disproportionately high ratio? At what point will this determination be made?

    Each project will be reviewed on a per project basis.

    After bid closing, the County begins to evaluate the apparent low bid including the CAP Team reviewing and approving Program submissions. A Notice of Intent to Award is posted in Oracle Online Discussion that will list the recommended bidder(s) for award.

  28. Sec. 2-588 (b)(2) states Any liquidated damages imposed shall be deducted from the contractor's final pay application and shall be used to support construction/bidding trade apprenticeship training programs registered with the Florida Department of Education or the United States Department of Labor that are located within Hillsborough County and/or such apprenticeship training programs provided by the Hillsborough County School District. If an apprenticeship program does not exist for the construction trade that is being penalized, how will the County allocate funds?

    See Sec. 2-587 (a)(3) and (f).

  29. If liquidated damages are assessed will that money go towards an apprenticeship program that suits the penalized trade? For example—if a plumber is penalized, that money should go towards a plumbing program, only.

    Ordinance No. 21-17 does not dictate a specific trade for liquidated damages.

  30. Please provide an explanation for Sec. 2-587 (f)(3)(b) If the program is based upon labor hours how does material cost factor in?

    Sec. 2-587. (f)(3)(b) addresses scenarios specific to a disproportionately high ratio of material costs to labor hours.

  31. Will this program also apply to Design-Build projects?

    Yes.

  32. The documents the County is requiring to be submitted are to include total labor hours. Once the bids have been submitted and awarded anyone can request a copy of all bid submittal packages. This will allow other contractors to obtain private information on how a project was bid by their direct competitors.

    Bidders are advised in solicitation documents that all applicable federal, state and local laws, ordinances, rules and regulations shall apply to the contract throughout its term.

  33. Who will determine if a labor class is covered by an existing Apprenticeship program? Example- Union classification – block mason – Roadway Construction – Concrete finisher (these are not the same type of work).

    The County makes this determination based on the CAP Certification Form along with supporting program information submitted with the bid.

  34. In a quick review of the reference sites for approved Apprenticeship programs those that are approved that are not Company run are Union based programs. Can the County provide references for Non-union programs as Florida is a right-to-work state?

    USDOL and FDOE have resources and training representatives available to assist organizations with company-sponsored training programs.

  35. For Non-Union Utility contractor, the only Region 4 FLDOE Apprentice program is Assoc. of Building Contractors (ABC) Gulf Coast. We attempted to place carpenters and pipefitters into their program (classes start in Sept); however, ABC canceled the 2021 first year program for these 2 trades due to lack of industry participation. It will be another 12 months before the next opportunity to place apprentices in program. Please advise on what should a non-union contractor do that wishes to pursue HC projects?

    USDOL and FDOE have resources and training representatives available to assist organizations with company-sponsored training programs.

  36. My understanding is the GC doesn't necessarily have to have the Apprenticeship, but subs would because we need to meet the percentage of the BID or RFQ.

    See Sec. 2.587 (c).

  37. Will this program apply to Professional Services related to construction projects?

    See Sec. 2.585. and Sec. 2-586.

  38. Does this program apply to Labor Only contracts over $1M (i.e. like Engineering contracts)?

    See Sec. 2.585. and Sec. 2-586.

  39. Does this apply to Land Survey and Civil Engineering Contractors?

    See Sec. 2.585. and Sec. 2-586.

  40. What are your programs for small businesses, and do you release RFQ's with small business requirements?

    For more information on Hillsborough County’s Small Business programs please visit this page.

  41. Certain industries have good apprenticeship resources, but some do not. Heavy highway construction, for example, does not utilize specialized trades where we've seen apprenticeship programs offered. Our new hires are grown and trained organically within the company, not through an outside apprenticeship program. I'm worried that there will not be adequate resources for these types of contractors to achieve the goals.

    For trades where there are no registered apprenticeship programs, the contractor or subcontractor may use a company-sponsored training program, approved by the CAP Team. Company-sponsored training programs are reviewed against the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship Standards Builder or the FDOT On the Job Training Standards.

  42. Will the County provide a list of Civil Construction Apprenticeship Programs?

    For trades where there are no registered apprenticeship programs, the contractor or subcontractor may use a company-sponsored training program, approved by the CAP Team. Company-sponsored training programs are reviewed against the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship Standards Builder or the FDOT On the Job Training Standards.

  43. How will the updates of current ordinances be disseminated?

    Updates to the Ordinance will be posted to this page.

  44. What will be the qualifications for an in-house apprenticeship program? What documentation will be needed to fulfill this?

    The CAP Team reviews company-sponsored training programs against the USDOL Office of Apprenticeship Standards Builder or the FDOT On the Job Training Standards.

    The CAP Certification Form along with all supporting program information must be submitted along with bid submission.

  45. What if the 12% cannot be attained by using the lowest qualified sub bids? What does a "Good Faith" effort look like?

    See Sec. 2-587 (d).

  46. Will the Apprenticeship Goal be different on every Bid?

    No.

  47. Have local training resources been identified for contractors to participate in or contract with?

    USDOL and FDOE have resources and training representatives available to assist organizations with company-sponsored training programs.

  48. Will companies be required to meet program requirements on projects of less than $1M if the project is issued under a blanket term contract which has a total aggregate dollar value cap of over $1M. For these projects, separate PO's are issued for each separate project, if that PO amount is less than $1M will the program be applicable?

    If the award amount is $1M or more, the project is required to comply with the CAP Program unless an exception is met.

  49. Most projects in the water /wastewater industry are over 1mil. In this industry there are several projects that are entirely self-performed by a GC and at this time see no ways of complying with the apprenticeships. There are; however, Electrical apprenticeships that help us meet these goals on certain jobs and is usually our only source of meeting these goals.

    See Sec. 2-587 (d).

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