Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane offers construction pre-apprenticeship programs

Program aims to assist underrepresented groups

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The city of Spokane has launched a grant program aimed at providing training to prepare more women, minorities, and veterans for careers in the construction industry.

Jason Sandobal, contract compliance and business standards officer for the City of Spokane, says grants of up to $2,500 are available for organizations — including employers, industry associations, colleges, or other workforce groups — that intend to establish or expand pre-apprenticeship programs in construction trades for one or more of those groups.

Sandobal says grant funding can be used toward establishing a pre-apprenticeship program, providing online or classroom education and training programs, conducting activities or outreach geared toward increasing the pool of potential apprentices, and other costs directly related to pre-apprenticeship programs and projects.

In 2016, the city revised its Public Works Apprentice Program statute, which now requires all contractors involved in public works construction projects to use apprentices for at least 15% of the labor hours on the job. The requirement applies to construction projects with an estimated value of $600,000 or more.

The grant is funded through fines paid by contractors who were unable to meet the apprenticeship requirement.

Sandobal says the number of grants the city will distribute depends on the number of fines the city issues. Sandobal says the city has collected $9,000 in fines — nearly enough to fund four grants — and is still waiting on some contractors to pay their fines. 

Applications are available on the City of Spokane website. The deadline is Sept. 16. Grants will be awarded at the end of September.

Sandobal says the program likely will issue grants on an annual basis. If the program receives a high volume of applications and positive feedback, grants could be applied for and issued twice a year, Sandobal says.

Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the banking and finance industries. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys travelling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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