Rep. Ackert Calls for Reform to Apprenticeship Hiring Ratio in CT Following Passage of Federal Bill

Government Affairs,
November 9th, 2021
William E. Roddy
Rep. Ackert Calls for Reform to Apprenticeship Hiring Ratio in Connecticut Following Passage of Federal Infrastructure Bill
HARTFORD, Conn. — With Connecticut now slated to receive a $5.4 billion investment for its infrastructure needs from Washington, D.C., one state lawmaker is reviving his effort to boost the hiring of apprentices in the construction trades ahead of what should be a busy year.
State Representative Tim Ackert (R-Coventry) was the primary sponsor of House Bill 5889 last session, allowing Connecticut electrical, heating/cooling, plumbing, sprinkler-fitting and sheet-metal contractors to hire one apprentice for every one licensed journey person that they already employ — current regulations limit the number of new apprentices using a three-to-one ratio.
Connecticut's construction industry has been contending with a skilled labor shortage on top of low residential home construction and a shortage of building materials, and Ackert says apprenticeship programs hold the key to replenishing the state's construction workforce – a recent survey found as many as 40% of seasoned construction professionals are expected to retire within the next 15 years.
Rep. Ackert said, "I believe the goal of allowing more qualified apprentices to fill existing vacancies is complementary with this administration's shared goals of developing a modern and diverse workforce right here in Connecticut. Coupling reform to the apprenticeship hiring ratio with a historic investment in our hard infrastructure will be a game-changer for employers, journey persons and registered apprentices in the trades. It is my hope that Governor Lamont recognizes this workforce development opportunity and immediately capitalizes on it. When the General Assembly meets to appropriate our state's share of federal infrastructure dollars, we should also send Governor Lamont a bill to bring the hiring ratio for these building trades in line with the already proven 1-to-1 site ratio. Upon receiving his signature, this move could mean the immediate creation of hundreds of fulfilling careers in this vital sector of our economy and workforce."
Ackert's proposal is supported by industry professionals, as well as groups like the Associated Builders and Contractors of Connecticut, the Connecticut Heating and Cooling Contractors Association and the Independent Electrical Contractors of New England.
House Bill 5889 was co-sponsored by both Republican and Democratic state representatives last session, but did not receive a public hearing.
The General Assembly's next scheduled regular session begins in February.