N.C. County approves change to apprenticeship requirement on construction projects

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New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer praised a decision to modify the county’s government contracting requirements to drive more construction work to in-state employers.

“Eight months ago the people of New Castle County elected a government of honesty, transparency, and efficiency. We stepped into an increasing deficit in which your county government spends more money than it is receiving in tax revenue. Inefficiencies in our construction contracting cause part of this spending problem, costing county taxpayers as much as $5 million annually,” Meyer stated. “Tonight County Council, led by the efforts of Penrose Hollins, George Smiley and John Cartier, took an important step toward more efficient contracting practices. This compromise effort will result in better value for the taxpayer, more business for New Castle County construction contractors and more apprenticeship opportunities for those looking for work.”

The county has struggled with council-imposed sponsored apprenticeship requirements that on some projects led to the only qualified bidders being from out of state. The requirements are unique to New Castle County.

The out-of-state companies came in with higher bids than the county might have received from local firms. Small firms were also shut out of bidding, since sponsoring apprenticeship programs was too expensive.

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The county council has long been dominated by representatives from organized labor, who have pushed for apprenticeship programs. However, the requirements have led to sharply higher costs on some projects.

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