Worker-hungry contractors say rules limiting apprentice hires stymies business

The state Department of Consumer Protection imposes a so-called “hiring ratio” on contracting companies in electrical, plumbing and metal-working trades. The rule is a bit technical but it essentially requires contractors to have a certain number of licensed journeymen on staff for each apprentice they hire. State Sen. Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) chairs the General Assembly’s Labor & Public Employees Committee and said the hiring ratio ensures apprentices receive adequate training. If a company has just a few licensed professionals training a large number of apprentices, they could receive subpar instruction. Kushner noted that the nationwide unemployment rate for journeymen is about 30%, which suggests that contractors already have a pool of experienced workers from which they can hire.

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