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.
Virtual Training Opportunities
This one-hour session aims to give vendors a better understanding of the Construction Apprenticeship Program and the ordinance requirements for bid submission.
This informative training will cover the following topics:
- Construction Apprenticeship Program overview
- Bid submission and required documents
- Required program reporting
- Apprenticeship program resources
There is no fee to attend; however, advance registration is required. Vendor training sessions will be held online. After you register for this training, you will receive an e-mail with a link before the webinar to participate in the training class.
Webinar dates and registration:
- Tuesday, Sept. 7 - 10 to 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 22 - 10 to 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 6 - 10 to 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 20 - 10 to 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, Nov. 3 - 10 to 11 a.m.
Where can I find the Construction Apprenticeship Program ordinance?
Hillsborough County Ordinance No. 21-17 is available online.
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.
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.
I have a training program of my own. Can I use this toward meeting the utilization requirement?
A company may only use a company-sponsored training program or an industry certification training program if a Florida Department of Education or U.S. Department of Labor program for that trade does not exist. A company-sponsored training program requires apprentices to be employed through a process equivalent to industry certification, as determined by the County. Standards for company-sponsored programs are evaluated against the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Office of Apprenticeship Standards Builder User Guide.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
What are the consequences of not meeting the apprentice requirement?
If the requirements are not met through utilization or demonstrating a good faith effort, then remedies shall apply as specified in Sec. 2-588 of Hillsborough County Ordinance No. 21-17.
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.
Program Assistance and Questions
- Email: CAPadmin@HCFLGov.net
- Phone: (813) 272-5790