Published Tuesday, October 27, 2020 in The Stand.org
The Snohomish County Council unanimously passed Substitute Ordinance 20-028 on Oct. 21 to strengthen apprenticeship utilization standards in Snohomish County. The ordinance changes were initiated by County Executive Dave Somers’ office by reaching out to the Snohomish and Island County Labor Council who consulted with Mark Riker, President of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council.
Championed by Councilmember Megan Dunn to incorporate input from local labor union representatives and county officials, this ordinance amends the existing county code to require a minimum utilization goal of state-registered apprenticeship programs for county public works and construction projects and adds additional tracking metrics to ensure compliance and effectiveness.
“These changes support working families in Snohomish County by responsibly using public dollars to train tomorrow’s skilled workforce,” said Councilmember Megan Dunn, working with labor stakeholders to craft the amended legislation. “This ordinance ensures that Snohomish County is the best county to learn a trade for well-paying skilled jobs which in turn supports a stronger middle class. I am proud that we were also able to include meaningful metrics that will track diversity, inclusion of new workers, and employment of veterans.”
“During this economic crisis, we must work hard to find ways to get people into jobs, and a great first step is an apprenticeship,” said County Executive Dave Somers. “I appreciate the partnership with the County Council as we worked though all of the details of making the apprenticeship process more accessible. It will now be easier to bring people into internships and get people working.”
“Apprenticeship programs are a proven and effective way to develop our workforce, while providing new opportunities and pathways to all members of our community,” said Council Vice Chair Stephanie Wright.
“IBEW Local 191 is pleased to have been part of the remarkable process put forth by Snohomish County Council on updating Ordinance 20-028,” said John Traynor, Political Director for IBEW Local 191. “This ingenious policy will not only lower project costs, it will create the demand for apprenticeship opportunities in Snohomish County streamlining career pathways for skilled craftspeople.”
“LiUNA Local 292 is honored to have had the chance to work with the Snohomish County Council, Snohomish County Departments, and Construction Craft Trades on updating Ordinance 20-028 Apprenticeship Requirements,” said Stacy Martin, Business Manager-Secretary-Treasurer of LiUNA Local 292. “This update will create access to living wage opportunities for the citizens of Snohomish County while providing hands on learning for the next generation of Construction workers. Our members at LiUNA Local 292 value the relationships that we have built with the Snohomish County Council, Snohomish County Departments and Construction Craft Trades. We appreciate the attention to the needs of Snohomish County.”
The ordinance requires a 15 percent apprenticeship utilization rate in the trades with flexibility for contractors to meet the requirement over the life of the project. New reporting requirements will also ensure enhanced oversight and compliance accountability to ensure that new workers can gain essential experience on job sites in Snohomish County. Substitute Ordinance 20-028 is expected to go into effect in early November and will apply to all new county public works and construction contracts costing more than $1 million.