This past fall, the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting had the opportunity to work with public bodies in western Illinois and Iowa to promote National Apprenticeship Week. From November 12-18th, we worked with local government officials to pass National Apprenticeship Week Proclamations. Construction is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country and, as such the demand for skilled labor continues to be in high demand. By issuing a National Apprenticeship Proclamation, counties are recognizing the vital role apprenticeship programs play in ensuring the highest qualifications are met by the construction labor force. With the diligent efforts of our Construction Analysts, eight National Apprenticeship Week Proclamations were issued. The Proclamations were passed in Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Silvis, Henry County Board, South Beloit, Loves Park, Rockton, and Machesney Park.
Looking back, registered apprenticeship programs have played a significant role in our nation’s history for the past eighty years when Congress implemented the National Apprenticeship Act to ensure apprenticeship programs meet state and federal standards to be certified. Showcasing the great work of apprenticeships helps our organization to raise standards in the construction industry.
Much of our organization’s work focuses on educating the public on the value of prevailing wage compliance and responsible bidder ordinances. We host prevailing wage seminars throughout our three-state jurisdiction on these subjects as well as help public bodies pass responsible bidder ordinances. One of the key selling points of a responsible bidder ordinances is the requirement for contractors to show participation in a United States Department of Labor approved apprenticeship program. By having apprenticeships imputed into responsible bidder ordinances, public bodies implementing the ordinance can ensure quality construction thanks to a skilled workforce that went through an apprenticeship program.
We look forward to next year when we will work with public bodies to issue more National Apprenticeship Week Proclamations.