Town of North Hempstead officials have closed what they believe was a loophole in their 2015 law on apprenticeship programs for tradesmen.
Town council members voted last week to tweak the law in a way that forces construction contractors to prove that someone has graduated from a state labor department-approved apprenticeship program. Before Thursday, the law stated that contractors needed only to prove that such a program existed.
“This is legislation we had passed already, but there was nothing in it to indicate that the apprenticeship program had to have a graduate,” said Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “So this is our attempt to close that loophole.”
Now, any contractor looking to do work on commercial projects in North Hempstead that are more than 100,000 square feet must show proof of a graduate. The rule also applies to contractors looking to do jobs for the town that exceed $500,000.
Bosworth said the law change will ensure that tradesmen working in North Hempstead are skilled and give residents confidence that new construction projects are done correctly.
Leaders from local trade unions praised Bosworth and council members for making the change.
The law change will help generate more tradesmen on Long Island, said Art Gibson, an apprenticeship graduate and now business representative for Plumbers Local Union No. 200.
“I applaud you for looking into this situation and addressing it,” said Richard O’Kane, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties told the council. “You’re doing the right thing and my constituents will benefit from it.”