Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano joined with Federal lawmakers this week to advocate for apprenticeship program requirements for Federal construction projects. The group gathered at, and toured, the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant – one of the largest post-Superstorm Sandy repair and resiliency projects in the nation. After a walkthrough of the Plant Construction Site and new Substation, came a Roundtable discussion on visions of Apprenticeship Programs.
Among the Roundtable participants were U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez; Congresswoman Kathleen Rice; Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky; County Legislator Denise Ford; and representatives from various Building & Construction Trades such as the Steamfitters, Teamsters, Sheet Metal Workers, Carpenters and Plumbers.
In 2013, the County Legislature approved the Mangano administrations requirement that all construction contracts in excess of $500,000 have apprenticeship programs. The apprenticeship legislation eliminated loopholes that had allowed contractors to avoid the program, and related costs, by subcontracting much of the work.
Congresswoman Rice has urged President Obama to encourage apprenticeships in Federal Project Labor Agreements.
County Executive Mangano thanked Rice and Perez for their leadership on this “important initiative.”
“In today’s global economy, we believe the Federal government should be a leader in helping to develop a highly-skilled and well-trained workforce,” Mangano said. “Apprenticeship programs train students in workplace safety and give students the tools they need to have successful careers. Apprenticeships also offer an opportunity for women and other minorities to work in the construction field.”
He said Apprenticeship programs are benefitting the Bay Park Improvement project, while training the workforce with the skills needed by society.
“Nassau County has been a leader when it comes to apprenticeship programs,” Mangano told those gathered at Bay Park. “Together, we can achieve significant savings for taxpayers on large-scale construction projects by employing apprentices, while still maintaining a high-level of skill and accountability. Let’s get it done at the Federal level.”