On behalf of our member companies that make NJBIA the largest, most impactful association representing New Jersey businesses, I write to you in support of Senate Bill No. 3635 (Singleton/Oroho) which would remove key registered apprenticeship program requirements currently needed to bid on public work contracts and set apprenticeship standards for prevailing wage projects. Preliminarily, we would like to express our gratitude to Senators Singleton and Oroho for sponsoring this bill, and to Chairman Madden for posting it and allowing us the opportunity to express our support.
This legislation would reverse the 2019 law which requires contractors to participate in an apprenticeship program to bid on public contracts. While the 2019 law was well intended to increase training opportunities in the building trades, it has had the unintended consequence of severely limiting the ability of small businesses to bid on public works contracts unless they had the resources to participate in an aggregated apprenticeship program. For example, following the creation of the apprenticeship program requirement in 2019, more than 1,900 potential contractors were initially denied bidding on public works contracts in 2020, with most of them losing out on a contract for failing to participate in an apprenticeship program.
By removing the apprenticeship requirement to bid on public work, competition in the market will improve, resulting in lower-cost projects for the state and less burden for the taxpayer. Additionally, small business contractors will no longer be cut off from a significant source of potential revenue.
For these reasons, we respectfully request that you vote YES on S-3635.