Looking to help train a new generation of skilled workers, Riverhead Town has introduced a resolution that will require Town-contracted construction companies to participate in apprenticeship programs.
Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith explains that “Not only do apprenticeships provide on-the-job training for a new generation, but they’re a smart, economical and effective way to help the next generation learn a trade from experienced craftsmen while assuring that the construction industry continues to have highly skilled workers.”
This bill will create opportunities for recent high school graduates or others interested in mastering a technical trade while being paid to work alongside experienced bricklayers, electrical workers, plumbers, carpenters, ironworkers, roofers, sheet metal workers and more.
Riverhead resident Brian Nigro endorsed the program. “I can say from experience that union building trade apprenticeship programs afford young people a different path to a great career. Instead of starting life saddled with thousands of dollars in college debt, I was paid to go to school. After graduating from the program and thanks to my successful apprenticeship with the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 28, I was able to buy a home and raise our family here in Riverhead,” Nigro said.
Councilwoman Catherine Kent had to say, “Having apprenticeship language in place increases work readiness and promotes safety in the workforce. This is exactly the type of requirements we need in place to help our residents be able to gain access to strong middle class jobs.”
The resolution, now open for public comment before next month’s Town Board vote, will require that public works projects over $250,000.00 or 100,000 sq.ft. will need to participate in NY State or US Dept. of Labor Apprenticeship programs for trades needed per the construction contract.